Critic Reviews

38

Metascore

Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
75
A small and not particularly ambitious movie, but it's pleasing and exceptionally well made. It was directed by Stephen Frears, and while it's not up there with his best - "Dangerous Liaisons," "The Queen," "High Fidelity," "Cheri" - Lay the Favorite lavishes the same attention on the personal, on relationships, and, like most Frears films, it puts a woman at the center of the story.
63
On autopilot from beginning to end, Lay the Favorite feels like sitcom blown up to big-screen proportions. The laughs aren't raucous or numerous, the character development is sketchy at best, and the insider's perspective on bookies and gambling is superficial.
63
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.
60
A classy cast and Frears' light touch can't help this innocent abroad dramedy into the winner's enclosure. More jeopardy, less laboured larking, and it could've romped home.
40
The comedy just isn't that funny and the enterprise never finds an exact tone.
40
Adapted from a comic thriller by Carl Hiaasen, South Florida's day-glo answer to Elmore Leonard, the film missed the fizzy, beach-friendly fun of Hiaasen's work, and wound up playing the comedy and the suspense at half-speed. It couldn't keep up with its own protagonist.
40
Particularly disappointing given the names involved, it's only mildly amusing at best, and more often downright tedious.
40
Lay the Favorite is frenzied without being funny. Like Judy Holliday on a particularly manic day, Hall tears from scene to scene with a bubbly effervescence that is technically impressive yet increasingly exhausting.
25
Hollywood celebrities romping around in a candy-colored Alexa-shot criminal underworld, pretty much as a means of passing time.
20
One of those factors must have settled upon the unlucky shoulders of Stephen Frears, who certainly has the pedigree to go all the way. And yet, he stumbles so badly with Lay the Favorite, his comic adaptation of Beth Raymer's memoir, that one is left wondering what could possibly have gone wrong.

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