Walk of Shame

A silly movie based around coincidence, misunderstandings, and a lack of creativity, Walk of Shame eventually becomes a one-joke comedy that wears out its welcome far before it reaches its conclusion. Elizabeth Banks stars and is great, but the situations she’s forced into seem, well, forced, as well as repetitive. After you’ve seen the first little bit of Walk of Shame, you’ve basically seen it all.

Meghan Miles (Banks) is a popular local news anchor who is possibly up for a promotion. It’s between her and one other person. She’s someone with a squeaky clean record; she doesn’t do anything wrong or take any chances. She’s that person. She’s engaged, she has a couple of loving best friends, and it really does seem like she’s going to get that promotion, which would land her a more prominent spot “reading the news.” Of course, that would be too easy. Her fiancĂ© leaves and she finds out she didn’t get the promotion. Her friends take her out for a night of heavy drinking, after which she leaves with the bartender and stupidly nice guy, Gordon (James Marsden).

She’s bouncing back, or so it seems. But after leaving Gordon’s apartment the next morning, it turns out that things are not peachy. She left her phone in his apartment, whose building does not have any names on the buzzers. Her car was towed, which has her money and ID in it. And she’s in a revealing yellow dress, given that the entire point of going out was to find a man. She now has only a few hours to find her way to the TV studio in order to make her shift — as well as impress executives who, despite telling her the opposite the night before, very well could decide to pick her for the better position.

You can probably guess how this is going to go. Meghan is going to stumble from random encounter to random encounter, each time being denied help based on her appearance and/or lack of ID/money. But that’s about all there is to it. We just do this over and over until eventually we reach our conclusion. Some of the situations are moderately funny, but most of them are not. The whole thing is too repetitive to really work.

There are good parts. A scene in which Meghan winds up in a “ghetto crackhouse” alongside three men named Hulk, Pookie, and Scrilla is a riot. It’s the first real stop on Meghan’s journey, after a slow but interesting setup. That’s our highlight, and it occurs 30 minutes into the picture. The next hour consists of stop after stop in which the same joke is repeated ad nauseum. As I said, some of them are funny, but not enough to be worth seeing, especially when it’s basically the same thing over and over.

About the only time Walk of Shame comes alive in its final hour is when Meghan’s friends, Rose (Gillian Jacobs) and Denise (Sarah Wright), team up with Gordon in an attempt to locate the news anchor. They breathe life into the film, as they provide something different for the audience. Their interactions with each other are rather funny, and I think I might have honestly preferred more of the film to be focused on them than on Meghan.

That’s no fault of Elizabeth Banks, who comes away from this lackluster comedy completely unscathed. She puts so much work in, and seems so willing to do absolutely anything that the role requires, that she just further cements herself as one of the best comedic actresses currently working. I fully believe that, given a more clever and inventive script, she’d easily be able to carry the movie on her own. It’s just a shame that we didn’t get that. People might instead blame Banks, but it’s not on her at all.

In fact, it’s not on any of the actors. The supporting cast is all good — mostly playing caricatures and stereotypes, but still good. I mean, a couple of the strongest points came solely from the one-note supporting characters. An “unconventional” helicopter pilot played by Kevin Nealon is consistently entertaining, a woman at an impound lot played by Tig Notaro is enjoyable, and I’ve already mentioned the Jacobs/Wright/Marsden trio, as well as the “ghetto crackhouse” scene. The cast is great. It’s the script they’ve been given that’s no good.

We eventually get a half-hearted speech about how treating someone a specific way based on appearance and nothing more is wrong, but it comes too late and doesn’t have much power behind it. By then, I had stopped caring, so anything the film had to say wasn’t going to have any impact. The point is valid, sure, but as it’s delivered within the context of the film, it just didn’t really resonate or seem particularly poignant.

What more can I say? Walk of Shame isn’t particularly good, but it’s funny in parts and it’s not like it feels like a complete waste of time, but it’s also not seeking out or sitting down to watch more than specific segments. Some movies are best to play in the background as noise you occasionally look at, and that might be Walk of Shame‘s future. It’s not worth dedicating an hour and a half of your life to it — its script is repetitive and lacking in humor — but it has some moments that are worth seeing.

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