Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 14 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 17
  2. Negative: 5 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 6, 2012
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 4, 2012
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Dec 5, 2012
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Dec 2, 2012
    Stephen Frears is a supremely accomplished director, but perhaps there was little he could do with this garbled and unsatisfying story about gambling.
  5. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dec 2, 2012
    The comedy just isn't that funny and the enterprise never finds an exact tone.
  6. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 6, 2012
    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.
  7. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 6, 2012
    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.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 2 out of 4
  1. Mar 5, 2013
    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. Expand
  2. Jan 19, 2013
    I only love watching these types of film because after reading the mostly negative reviews I can write my own that say's the opposite. This has, at the time of writing, got 4.6 which would tell me that a film is sub standard. I see a cast like this and wonder why. Well this is another case of getting it wrong. This is based on Beth Raymer's memoir. An enjoyable story about a young woman who is looking for a better life and starts working for a professional gambler, Dink. He quickly learns she has a head for numbers and the story begins in earnest. Rebecca Hall is a gifted actor and managed the role with ease. The whole cast were great but nobody had to do anything that caught our attention and that is perhaps the reason this film hasn't done well. Bruce Willis is just Bruce Willis with a different name. Vince Vaughn is the same. Everyone is good but people wanted more I suspect.I loved the film and will watch it again soon.

  3. Aug 5, 2013
    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. Expand
  4. Mar 19, 2013
    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! Collapse