I caught this movie last year at Sundance, and as usual I’m going to be blunt, I absolutely hated it. I sat in that theater and after 15-20 minutes I was fidgeting around looking for an appropriate time to leave. I couldn’t pinpoint why I dislike the film that much but it was mainly a combination of things, the acting was shallow, the editing was confusing and jumpy, and the pacing and story ark was hard to follow. So when Lay The Favorite came out on Blu-ray I decided to give it another chance. Would I still hate it?
First a synopsis.
Beth (Rebecca Hall), having drifted into private dancing (home visits leading to small scale prostitution) decides to leave small-town Florida and head for Las Vegas, where a more fulfilling life as a cocktail waitress beckons. Alas, cocktail waitressing in Vegas is a difficult nut to crack, and Beth ends up working for Dink (Bruce Willis) who makes his living from his sports gambling company. What follows is the story of Beth’s progress, and her involvement with Dink, his wife Tulip (Catherine Zeta-Jones), journalist Jeremy (Joshua Jackson), bookmaker Rosie (Vince Vaughan) and gambler Dave (John Carroll Lynch).
Upon second viewing I realized that it really isn’t that bad (considering last time it ruined my day). It’s not a plot or character driven movie, Lay The Favorite is simply an adaptation of a biography as a biography. The story arcs are still non-existent until they want to make the third act exciting. The pacing and editing are still off.
This viewing I realized that acting is actually quite good. Vince Vaughan crushes his roll as Rosie; I mean he is outstanding as the loose cannon gambler. He reminds me of all my professional gambler friends. Rebecca Hall was still annoying buy after seeing who she based he character off it is dead on and completely different than anything she has done before.
The Blu-ray quality is excellent in terms of both audio and visual qualities. However there is a serious lack of special features, which is a complete bummer. I really would have loved to hear the producers/director/author’s impressions on this flick.
Upon this viewing Lay The Favorite is a mediocre rental at best. But that is not to say that it is a complete waste of time Rebecca Hall and Vince Vaughan’s performance are excellent. This is not your normal film; the arcs are missing making it very hard to care about the story (or what is left of one) but it kind of’ works as a biography rather than a story driven film.
Lay the Favorite [Blu-ray] is available both online and in stores.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale??
Overall: 2.5 bets out of 5
Review by Bro’ B – Ben