4 December 2012 11:45 AM, PST | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Stephen Frears' "Lay the Favorite," the story of a characterful young woman (Rebecca Hall) who becomes involved in sports gambling, and which co-stars Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joshua Jackson, Vince Vaughn and Frank Grillo, slinks into theaters this week. In a way, it's lucky to do so. Not taken too kindly by critics when it premiered at Sundance way back in January, it's already hit theaters in much of the world elsewhere and is likely only making it to theaters out of contractual obligation. But in fact, it's not as bad as you've heard (at least according to this writer). Hall and Willis are entertaining enough, and it has a few pleasures to it, even if it's far from the return to the spirit of "The Grifters" we were hoping for. But the film's arrival in multiplexes has mostly had the effect of reminding us of some other great gambling movies of the past, »

- Oliver Lyttelton

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