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.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
"Lay the Favorite" is a small and not particularly ambitious movie, but it's pleasing and exceptionally well made.
| Original Score: 3/4
The story is borderline inconsequential but the characters are lively and engaging and the performances strong.
| Original Score: 3/5
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...
Frears's strongest hand is a set of colourful characters played with verve...
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.
It's a decidedly soft-boiled tale populated by some of the nicest degenerate gamblers you'd ever want to meet.
| Original Score: B-
While this is a lesser work in the Frears canon, it's still a likable caper.
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.
While everything seems to be going in its favor, Lay The Favorite is a losing bet.
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.
| Original Score: 1/5
... offers little insight into its subject or its setting and feels like it's been chopped up in the editing room.
Poor Rebecca Hall. If someone had told her there was no hope for Lay the Favorite, she could have saved some energy.
| Original Score: 3.4/10
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.
What has happened to director Stephen Frears?
Best to say as little as possible, cut one's losses and move on.
| Original Score: 1.5/5
The dots are there, but they don't connect.
| Original Score: 2/4
A listless comedy built around a vivacious protagonist.
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.
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.
| Original Score: 1.5/4