Beth Raymer is a beautiful girl with a big heart who leaves her dancing job at a Florida strip club to become a Las Vegas cocktail waitress. Not exactly an ideal career choice, but her borderline-ditzy personality doesn’t give her many options. In walks Dink, a professional sports bettor who sees through her bubbly exterior and offers her a job placing wagers all over town to gain an advantage over the casinos. Her surprisingly impeccable mind for numbers soon cements her status as Dink’s good-luck charm, until his gorgeous-but-frigid wife, Tulip, starts to get jealous. Faced with no other choice but to fire Beth, Dink’s luck runs out when she heads to New York to work for a smarmy bookie, a turn of events that lands her squarely on the wrong side of the law.
Acclaimed director Stephen Frears first wowed Sundance Film Festival audiences in 1985 with his sardonic thriller The Hit, and returned in 1991 with The Grifters, which garnered several Oscar nominations. With LAY THE FAVORITE, Frears nimbly displays his penchant for interweaving comedy and drama to create a thoroughly satisfying tale of improbable friendship found in the unlikeliest of places. – A.M.