Tuesday, December 11, 2012


As I waited in line only to be turned away at Sundance for the opportunity to view "Lay the Favorite" with Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta Jones, I happily happened upon the viewing of "Ai Weiwei, Never Sorry."  I'm SO glad I missed "Lay the Favorite" as "Ai Weiwei" was one of the most powerful docs I have ever seen.  But this review is about "Lay the Favorite" so back to the task at hand.  First of all, this had a great cast.  I love Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  Rebecca Hall, our protagonist, was a new face to me.  I'm guessing maybe she did high school plays and musicals.  More on that later.  Hall played Beth who ran away to Vegas to give up private "dancing" to make more money.  With her father's blessing (really?), she hit the road with her dog in tow.  Upon arrival she met some girls who hooked her up with a bookie, Dink (Willis).  Beth's natural mathematical skills made her the obvious choice for right hand person to Dink (again, really?).

"Lay the Favorite" couldn't decide whether or not it was going to be dark and violent, funny and dark, or a Broadway musical.  I swear I thought Hall's character was going to break out into song and dance with Willis by her side, catching her and spinning her in graceful circles around him in the bookie's office.  Hall's over-the-top animation and acting put me over the edge.  Willis didn't seem to have a clear direction as to what his character was all about.  Vaughn?  Well, Vaughn was Vaughn.  The interactions of all the characters were not believable nor were they funny.  I truly would have turned this movie off if I wasn't needing to see the entire film to review it.

You're probably thinking, "How was the overall story?  Did that have any redeeming value?"  I'm sorry, but I will have to answer your question with a resounding "NO!"  The story was a typical girl goes to Vegas (you can insert Hollywood here too), meets a guy, makes wrong choices, then learns so many life lessons to finally wrap up the story with a nice little bow.  Predictable.  Sorry to disappoint you even on this level.

Skip "Lay the Favorite."  Or if you're a stage producer, turn this baby into a musical.  Or if you're a writer who loves dark, grainy, ironic humor, re-write this and make it believable.  As it stands, I am so thankful I didn't have the clout to get in to this movie at Sundance.  I saw "Ai Weiwei" which enlightened, educated, and entertained me.  Rent that one instead!


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