Film review | Lay the Favourite – Rebecca Hall’s ditzy Las Vegas innocent goes for broke

LAY THE FAVORITE - Rebecca Hall & Bruce Willis

Usually seen playing classy types, Rebecca Hall is almost unrecognisable as a wide-eyed ex-stripper turned gambler’s mascot in the scatty comedy drama Lay the Favourite. Hall’s dizzy Beth quits her job stripping in clients’ homes to make her way as a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas. Instead, she gets taken under the wing of Bruce Willis’s moody professional gambler Dink, who adopts her as a kind of good-luck charm until his formidable wife Tulip (Catherine Zeta-Jones) turns jealous. Fired, Beth then puts her surprisingly cool head for figures to use for Vince Vaughn’s loud-mouthed New York bookie Rosie until his dodgy offshore gambling operation in the Caribbean threatens to drag her under, along with steadfast journalist boyfriend Jeremy (Joshua Jackson). Hall’s perky comic turn as the buoyant Beth is a delight, and it’s fun seeing Willis also cast against type as the antsy, calf-sock-wearing Dink, but although Stephen Frear’s film – based on the memoir by Beth Raymer – bobs along pleasantly enough, he never makes the gambling exciting enough to hit a winning streak.

On general release from Friday 25th June.

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