Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Lay the Favorite" (2012)

For my birthday this year I was moving again, which didn’t leave much time for anything fun. I did get to take the evening off and go see two movies in one day, something I haven’t done in over 20 years. For the second one I saw something I have wanted to try for a while now: a sneak peak. The idea is, for a cheap price you get to see a film that has not been released yet. It could be anything. The anticipation is incredibly fun. In this case I had all sorts of ideas as to what the film could be: Batman, Prometheus, Lincoln, Cabin, etc. etc. It turned out to be “Lay the Favorite.” I had not even heard about this film, and I tend to keep up with what is coming. There was a reason I was not aware of this one. It was a mess.

For most of the mercifully short run of the film, it meanders through the pointless happenings of a young woman who has moved to Las Vegas to make something of herself. Las Vegas seems like a strange destination for a stripper wanting to do something other than strip, but she sticks to her guns and becomes a bookie instead. One spends most of the film being surprised by all the recognizable faces, both because the film is so unknown for so many famous people to be in it as well as for the fact that they chose to do it after reading the script.

In the last few minutes of the film it suddenly remembers that it should be telling a story and it introduces some conflict that manages to interest the viewer, but by then it is too late to really start caring. Basically, our protagonist must learn to threaten a man who owes her a huge sum of money in losses. She pulls it off, but not through the typical threats. Instead she gives some crazy, out of character speech about taking responsibility for one’s choices. It raised huge applause from my audience, but that may have been due to the lateness of the hour and the fact that people drink beer in movie theaters in Germany.

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