Lay the Favorite
At the beginning of Lay the Favorite, there is a title scrawl which reads: “As luck would have it, the following story is true.”
Which makes you sort of wonder, why tell this particular true story? I’m not saying that to be mean, Lay the Favorite actually has some interesting, quirky characters and in many ways it’s a better movie than you might expect. However, there is nothing really that special about what these people do to make them movie-worthy. The world is full of people who make a living on illegal gambling as bookies, just the fact that these ones are a little more eccentric and nicer than most does not make them inherently cinematic. In the long run, they are all pretty much low-level crooks.
Had I never known this was based on a true story, strangely I may have enjoyed Lay the Favorite more. It doesn’t feel particularly realistic, and more importantly, the story behind Lay the Favorite is less intriguing than the characters who populate it.
Which makes you fixate on my original question: What is it about this real life story which makes it worthy of being filmed?
Well, basically, I guess, because someone went and did it. Actually, some fairly talented people, beyond the impressive b-level cast (and yes, at this point in their careers, Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones and even Vince Vaughn are b-level), Lay the Favorite also gets some visual sparkle from slumming British art-house director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons, My Favorite Launderette, The Grifters, Prick Up Your Ears, The High Fidelity).
To read the rest of the review, click here.