Parents' Guide to

Lay the Favorite

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Talky, uneven "true story" comedy has sex, language.

Movie R 2012 94 minutes
Lay the Favorite Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 2+

Based on 1 parent review

age 2+


All my 16 kids and their friends LOVE this movie!!

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

If truth is funnier than fiction, you'd never know it from this overwritten, uneven, jerky comedy, which is apparently based on a memoir. Director Stephen Frears is usually quite trustworthy, regularly working with both strong screenplays and great performers (see High Fidelity, The Queen, etc.). But with LAY THE FAVORITE, he's clearly floundering. Beth switches from dumb to smart and changes her affections and friendships in the space of a couple of scenes. The movie has no logical or character flow.

For amateurs, the gambling sequences are confusing, and nothing feels as organic or as genuine as it could have. Characters spend too much time explaining the plot to each other verbally, rather than Frears finding ways to show it. The only strong points come during the scenes that Hall and Willis share. Their chemistry generates something genuine, which is lost when the movie separates them during most of the second half.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: December 7, 2012
  • On DVD or streaming: March 5, 2013
  • Cast: Bruce Willis , Catherine Zeta-Jones , Rebecca Hall
  • Director: Stephen Frears
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Radius TWC
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 94 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language throughout, some sexual content, brief drug use, and nudity
  • Last updated: February 25, 2023

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