• R, 1 hr. 34 min.
  • Drama, Comedy
  • Directed By:    Stephen Frears
  • In Theaters:    Dec 7, 2012 Limited
  • On DVD:    Mar 4, 2013
  • Weinstein Co.

Lay the Favorite Reviews

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Kyle Smith
New York Post
Top Critic
December 7, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
December 7, 2012

"Lay the Favorite" is a small and not particularly ambitious movie, but it's pleasing and exceptionally well made.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Henry Fitzherbert
Daily Express
June 21, 2012

The story is borderline inconsequential but the characters are lively and engaging and the performances strong.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Matthew Turner
June 20, 2012

Watchable comedy drama that gets by thanks to a terrific central performance by Rebecca Hall and colourful supporting turns from the rest of the cast...

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
Top Critic
June 19, 2012

Frears's strongest hand is a set of colourful characters played with verve...

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Michael Nordine
Film Threat
February 18, 2012

Hardly the film anyone familiar with Frears's better work would want or expect, but that isn't to say it's entirely without merit.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
Top Critic
January 23, 2012

It's a decidedly soft-boiled tale populated by some of the nicest degenerate gamblers you'd ever want to meet.

Full Review | Original Score: B-
Jeremy Kay
January 23, 2012

While this is a lesser work in the Frears canon, it's still a likable caper.

Andrew O'Hehir
Top Critic
January 23, 2012

Those of us who still venerate Frears as a pioneer of British indie cinema in the '80s pine for him to have higher goals than a ditzy true-crime romp, but maybe that's our problem rather than his.

Staci Layne Wilson
Yahoo! Movies
March 13, 2013

While everything seems to be going in its favor, Lay The Favorite is a losing bet.

Mike Scott
March 8, 2013

A shrug of a film featuring unremarkable characters in an unremarkable story that never does more than limp toward it flat and flimsy third act.

Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Todd Jorgenson
December 10, 2012

... offers little insight into its subject or its setting and feels like it's been chopped up in the editing room.

Jeremy Mathews
Paste Magazine
December 7, 2012

Poor Rebecca Hall. If someone had told her there was no hope for Lay the Favorite, she could have saved some energy.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.4/10
Maitland McDonagh
Film Journal International
December 7, 2012

This shaggy-dog story based on the improbable real-life adventures of exotic dancer-turned-bookie-turned-journalist Beth Raymer is never quite as amusing as it thinks it is, despite a charming performance by Rebecca Hall.

Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
December 6, 2012

What has happened to director Stephen Frears?

Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
A.O. Scott
New York Times
Top Critic
December 6, 2012

Best to say as little as possible, cut one's losses and move on.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
Top Critic
December 6, 2012

The dots are there, but they don't connect.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Scott Tobias
Top Critic
December 6, 2012

A listless comedy built around a vivacious protagonist.

Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
Top Critic
December 6, 2012

Hall works like mad to create this character, giving her a breathy voice and hair-twisting tics and wide-eyed expressions that, rather than rounding her out, only flatten her.

Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Jeff Beck
December 6, 2012

What little plot "Lay the Favorite" has is lost in a mess of a screenplay that does absolutely nothing to stand out in any way whatsoever.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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