Lay The Favorite (2012)
Beth Raymer (Hall) leaves behind her life as a stripper in Florida and heads to Las Vegas to realize her dream: being a cocktail waitress in a glitzy casino. But, when her career goals don’t pan out, she falls in with Dink (Willis), a kind and idiosyncratic sports gambler. Beth wins Dink’s admiration when she shows herself to be something of a gambling prodigy, but she also wins the ire of Dink’s wife, Tulip (Zeta-Jones), when her relationship with her boss seems to extend beyond the professional. Based on a true story, LAY THE FAVORITE is a heartfelt comedy of finding friendship in the least likely places.
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Lay The Favorite Blu-ray Review
Kind of madcap with good measure of fun production Lay the Favorite is now available on Blu-ray. Direction by Oscar nominated Stephen Frears makes the easy going gambling plot movie a winner with a lot of twists and attention-grabbing situations. Perfect for home viewing so you can control the play with a lot of reason to rewind the action for a second look, the adult targeted movie works great for both sexes.
The film centers on Beth (Rebecca Hall) a striper who escapes the South Florida scene for big money in Las Vegas. Initially taking a job as a cocktail waitress, she runs into Dink (Bruce Willis) who runs a not so legal sports betting operation. Beth shows her ability to use numbers which impresses Dink so much he starts to feel lucky around her. When he hires Beth and his domineering wife Tulip (Catherine Zeta-Jones) sees how smart, alluring and crafty the girl becomes, Tulip's jealousy enrages setting off a series of wacky events.
I am completely blown away by the comedy that's generated between the main cast. Although comedy is not a stranger to Willis with his straight laced delivery, Zeta-Jones kicks up some incredible laughter as the kooky jealous wife. Looking like she shed years, her gorgeous figure and striking looks had me mesmerized during her extremely funny yet sometimes wicked scenes.
Frears helps his actors get into their characters using some excellent sets, creative camerawork and a good deal of ad lib as he puts them through their paces. His best creation is Rebecca Hall (The Town) who plays Beth the unwitting pawn in the whole scheme of things. Using some out of the blue twists that turn the tables on Dink's betting operation, she had me in stitches at times.
Although not a lot of screen time, Joshua Jackson plays Jeremy the love interest to Beth. While he's enamored with her, she's just using him to get another leg up in life. Although I wish he could have been used more, the upcoming star does a fine job with the small role. Vince Vaughn puts on a good show with his short screen time as well. He's at the top of his funny game using the swagger that has made him an A list actor. Not really a bit player, his character turns out to be the element of surprise when he puts Beth in her own business.
There are no extra bonus features of any consequence and although it would have been great to have a commentary with Frears, that's also absent from the disc.
The video value turns your television into an HD quality performer with really good reproduction from screen to home entertainment system. Featuring a 1080p widescreen production at 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio the film fits my 16x9 television like a glove. No side bars mean more visuals of the gorgeous Zeta-Jones and lovely Hall. For the ladies, Joshua Jackson's in living color with no grain or distortion.
Lay the Favorite has great sound with its 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. If your system takes it, you'll not miss a ding from the slot machines or the announcer from a race track. Crisp and clear, I didn't miss a word of the comical dialog.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A smart fast-paced adult situation comedy. (B)
-- John Delia
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