I think Bruce Willis can officially take the title of hardest working man in Hollywood now. The man had 6 films released in 2012, with at least 4 already scheduled for this year and it isn’t even March yet. He has made some dud direct to video flicks in the past while (Set Up, Catch .44), but he has also made some pretty good ones (Fire with Fire, The Cold Light of Day). His latest is yet another direct to video release arriving just as his new blockbuster A Good Day to Die Hard hits theatres.
Beth (Rebecca Hall) has just arrived in Las Vegas and scored a job as a cocktail waitress. She soon gets a tip on a better job through a friend and meets up with a bookie named Dink (Bruce Willis). The two have instant chemistry despite Dink’s marriage to the controlling Tulip (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Beth soon finds she has an uncanny knack for numbers. Convinced she can woo Dink away from Tulip and live happily ever after, Beth soon comes to discover that hardships can also come along with good fortune.
Lay the Favorite was a really pleasant, fun film with a good heart and some good laughs. Rebecca Hall, playing against type as a slightly ditzy waitress is actually really endearing and loveable. She brilliantly took a role which could have been a stereotypical and boring portrayal and turned it into a realistic character role with sincerity. And speaking of sincerity, Bruce Willis has been called out lately as calling in many of his roles and just being “Bruce Willis” over and over, but in Lay the Favorite I was really taken with his character of Dink. This is not another run of the mill performance; Willis infused Dink with a real world sensibility and a vulnerability that we haven’t seen from him in a while. While Dink is presented with the possibility of cheating on his irritable wife, he never gives in to the impulses as he really does love her, and she really loves him. My favorite part of the film actually was the arc that is their relationship. You really don’t predict the path this couple takes through the course of the film. And for bonus points, the filmmakers even threw in Frank Grillo, who just makes any movie he is in better in my opinion.
The Blu-ray from Anchor Bay is very nice looking. The sights and sounds of Vegas are bold and colorful and the vistas of the desert look wonderful in hi def. Clarity and detail are excellent and the overall image is very clean. A pretty impressive transfer for a lower budget comedy drama. Lay the Favorite was a nice little surprise of a gem that exceeded expectations and was a lot of fun. Recommended for sure.
Available March 5, 2013 on Blu-ray and DVD.