Metascore
38

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 17
  2. Negative: 5 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 4, 2012
    63
    On autopilot from beginning to end, Lay the Favorite feels like sitcom blown up to big-screen proportions. The laughs aren't raucous or numerous, the character development is sketchy at best, and the insider's perspective on bookies and gambling is superficial.
  2. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 6, 2012
    75
    A small and not particularly ambitious movie, but it's pleasing and exceptionally well made. It was directed by Stephen Frears, and while it's not up there with his best - "Dangerous Liaisons," "The Queen," "High Fidelity," "Cheri" - Lay the Favorite lavishes the same attention on the personal, on relationships, and, like most Frears films, it puts a woman at the center of the story.
  3. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 6, 2012
    20
    One of those factors must have settled upon the unlucky shoulders of Stephen Frears, who certainly has the pedigree to go all the way. And yet, he stumbles so badly with Lay the Favorite, his comic adaptation of Beth Raymer's memoir, that one is left wondering what could possibly have gone wrong.
  4. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 6, 2012
    30
    The movie is a bust, and, as usual in these situations, it is easier to say how than why, and best to say as little as possible, cut one's losses and move on.
  5. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dec 2, 2012
    40
    The comedy just isn't that funny and the enterprise never finds an exact tone.
  6. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Dec 7, 2012
    63
    Frears has a lot of fun with the bad tempers and high spirits of this crew of adrenaline junkies, and though the story falls a little flat, the script is sprinkled with dry wit.
  7. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Dec 5, 2012
    58
    At best, Lay The Favorite registers as cartoon sociology, but the film's featherweight charms dissipate whenever it moves away from the world of gambling and devotes time to go-nowhere subplots involving Hall's bland romance with Jackson, or Willis' troubled but fundamentally healthy marriage to Zeta-Jones.
  8. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Dec 4, 2012
    40
    Lay the Favorite is frenzied without being funny. Like Judy Holliday on a particularly manic day, Hall tears from scene to scene with a bubbly effervescence that is technically impressive yet increasingly exhausting.
  9. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Dec 2, 2012
    40
    Rebecca Hall's enjoyably bubbly lead performance lends the picture an occasional frisson of amusement.
  10. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 6, 2012
    40
    Romance and capers exist in Lay the Favorite, they just aren't played well.
  11. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Dec 2, 2012
    40
    Stephen Frears is a supremely accomplished director, but perhaps there was little he could do with this garbled and unsatisfying story about gambling.
  12. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Dec 4, 2012
    30
    Screeches and scrambles from scene to scene with manic sitcom energy, much like the cherished pet hamster of one of its characters.
  13. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Dec 2, 2012
    40
    Particularly disappointing given the names involved, it's only mildly amusing at best, and more often downright tedious.
  14. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Dec 7, 2012
    40
    Adapted from a comic thriller by Carl Hiaasen, South Florida's day-glo answer to Elmore Leonard, the film missed the fizzy, beach-friendly fun of Hiaasen's work, and wound up playing the comedy and the suspense at half-speed. It couldn't keep up with its own protagonist.
  15. Reviewed by: Steve Macfarlane
    Dec 6, 2012
    25
    Hollywood celebrities romping around in a candy-colored Alexa-shot criminal underworld, pretty much as a means of passing time.
  16. Reviewed by: John Lichman
    Dec 6, 2012
    25
    By the end of the film it seems that even Frears has given up. Lay The Favorite places a bet but comes up empty with a comedy that won't make you smirk, with a gaggle of characters and actors who bounce and riff with very little rhyme or reason.
  17. Reviewed by: Kate Stables
    Dec 2, 2012
    60
    A classy cast and Frears' light touch can't help this innocent abroad dramedy into the winner's enclosure. More jeopardy, less laboured larking, and it could've romped home.
User Score
4.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 2 out of 4
  1. Aug 5, 2013
    2
    I thought the cast was solid going in but the Lay the Favorite failed miserably largely because the protagonist, Rebecca Hall, cannot even remotely act. I don't know how she gets any roles. Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joshua Jackson, Vince Vaughn, etc. all provide solid support but Hall was just ridiculous. The plot also got boring and fast. It didn't have a good flow and seemed to have no real direction for much of the film. Overall there really isn't much point in watching beyond a slightly humorous scene here and there. Full Review »
  2. Mar 19, 2013
    0
    My son introduced me to metacritic today as an alternative to Rotten Tomatos and IMDB. This was the first movie I checked just to see what kind of reviews it got and I was very disappointed indeed. This was undoubtedly the absolute worst movie I have ever had the misfortune to watch. I just totally wasted an hour and a half of both my life and my wife's! Bruce Willis must be getting it tight if he had to resort to "acting" in this utter piece of trash! 6 stars!!! What a joke! Do yourself a favour and avoid this movie like the plague! Full Review »
  3. Mar 5, 2013
    6
    Lay The Favorite is not a great movie but certainly deserves 6 stars because of the sweet hint of spicy romance which you don't see in Bruce Willis Movies. Full Review »