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Lay the Favorite Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Loses its shirt for you. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    The comedy just isn't that funny and the enterprise never finds an exact tone.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    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.

    Read Full Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

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

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Lay the Favorite is an uneven, unappealing comedy based on a memoir about a woman who moves from stripping to working in the sports betting industry. Language is the strongest issue, with very frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," and other words. There's also a fair bit of sexual content: Viewers see two topless women, suggestive dancing, a woman flirting with a married man, and kissing (which leads to off-screen sex). There's some shouting and violent threats, but no actual violence.

  • Families can talk about Lay the Favorite's sexual references. How does the main character feel about her past career as a stripper and working for a porn website? How do her attitudes toward sex change over the course of the story?
  • Is Beth a role model? How does she change over the story? What does (and doesn't) she learn?
  • According to Bruce Willis' character, is it more important to make more money or to live a fuller life? Why?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The main character pulls herself out of a bad situation and slowly starts to make more positive decisions for herself. In the end, she's able to solve a complex problem and help others.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: The main character is ultimately a pretty positive role model, though she begins the story as a stripper and seems fairly ditzy for a while. Though she works in the (slightly illegal) gambling business, she eventually betters herself, takes the initiative, and begins to use her head. She ends the story in a much better place than she began it.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: A few violent threats (with violent imagery), but no actual violence.

  • sex false4

    Sex: Two secondary female characters are shown sunbathing topless in one scene. The main character begins the film as a stripper and is shown performing suggestive dances (though not naked). She falls in love with and attempts to seduce a married man (holding hands, etc.). Later, she meets a single man and kisses him passionately. They move offscreen to a hotel room for sex. The main character references a porn website that she worked for.

  • language false4

    Language: "F--k" is used fairly often, plus "s--t," "c--t," "bastard," "ass," "goddamn," and "scumbag," as well as "oh my God," "Jesus," and "Christ" (as exclamations).

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: The main character's Apple iPhone is shown fairly often but not referenced by name.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The main character sips a margarita in the opening scene. A secondary character drinks a huge gin and tonic after a tense argument.