© Wild Bunch/Central

Lady Vegas (Lay the Favorite)
U.S.A. 2012

Opening 19 Jul 2012

Directed by: Stephen Frears
Writing credits: Beth Raymer, D.V. DeVincentis
Principal actors: Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joshua Jackson

The young and pretty Beth (Rebecca Hall) is working as a private dancer in Tallahassee, Florida. The pay is good, but she has enough of her job when a client thinks it funny to point a gun at her. She dreams of a career change by becoming a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas. Her father (Corbin Bernsen) encourages her. Enthusiastically she arrives at the city of sin and entertainment. Landing her dream job as a waitress does not materialise, but instead her new friend Holly (Laura Prepon) introduces her to Dink (Bruce Willis), a “professional” sports gambler. His life is chaotic and hectic, working in his office with a number of TV screens lining the wall and his two assistants (Wayne Pere, Frank Grillo) constantly yelling into their telephones. He thinks this bubbly chick from the country will bring him luck as she has a real knack for numbers. Naïve and giggly, Beth jumps for joy in her super-tied shorts. Soon she is involved in a whirlwind of jealousy with Tulip, Dink’s wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). For the sake of his marriage Dink has to fire Beth. After promising his wife to pay for her facelift and not getting romantically involved with Beth, he hires her again, only to run amok when luck turns against him. Beth meets cute Jeremy (Joshua Jackson) at the flip machines. She follows him to New York, taking an illegal job with Dink’s rival Rosie (Vince Vaughn), an unscrupulous bookie. The action gets turbulent as business has to be transferred to the Caribbean, out of the reach of the FBI. Beth’s over the top enthusiasm is getting a bit repetitive, but as the fabulous Rebecca Hall is playing the part, it is a sheer pleasure just watching her.

Whilst this is one of Stephen Frears’ lesser works it is still an entertaining view of the gambling scene, a light-hearted rogue comedy. D.V. De Vincentis wrote the film adaptation from the memoirs of Beth Raymer, a former stripper turned journalist. (Birgit Schrumpf)

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