‘Lay the Favorite,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


“Lay the Favorite” feels like it should be a better gambling movie – funnier, like “The Sting,” or more exciting like “The Cincinnati Kid.”

But despite a cast that includes Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Zeta-Jones – and a director like Stephen Frears – “Lay the Favorite” (opening in limited release Friday 12/7/12) just kind of, well, lays there. Or lies there. It matters to those of us who value the English language, but not to many others. Like this film.

The film’s sexbomb/naïf is Beth (Hall), who escapes from being an on-call stripper in Florida to her dream – working in Las Vegas. She’s already got the wardrobe to be a cocktail waitress.

In Vegas, she stumbles into the path of Dink Heimowitz (Bruce Willis), a professional – and married – gambler for whom she goes to work. But while she becomes a valued part of Dink’s number-crunching operation, she arouses the womanly suspicions of Dink’s jealous wife, Tulip (Catherine Zeta-Jones).

(And really, what is with these names? Dink and Tulip Heimowitz? Tell me you could open that holiday card and not laugh.)

This review continues on my website.

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