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
What has happened to director Stephen Frears?
| Original Score: 1/5
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.
Incoherent, loud and saddled with a lead character far less smart ... 'Lay the Favorite' simply lays down dead.
A wan comedy about gambling that takes no risks ...
This is one bugged-out burlesque you can easily close the iron door on.
| Original Score: 2/5
As forgettable a motion picture as can be found during the 2012 holiday season.
Frears's strongest hand is a set of colourful characters played with verve...
| Original Score: 3/5
Not just an utterly tepid comedy, but possibly the most lifeless film in Frears' generally acclaimed oeuvre.
Frivolous fun at best, archly affected tedium at worst.
It's a decidedly soft-boiled tale populated by some of the nicest degenerate gamblers you'd ever want to meet.
| Original Score: B-
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.
Like a loud guest at a party who's amusing for a while, until you just have to escape to the next room.