“Walk Of Shame” has probably flown under the radar of a lot of moviegoers. The film had the tragic fate of being released on the same date as “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” as well as having a limited release. With no marketing campaign and such terrible circumstances, I thought that surely the film had to have something up its sleeve that would make it stand out … and I have never been so wrong in my life. Steven Brill’s latest film is your typical one-night adventure comedy that brings up important points about assumptions, but causes the audience to experience more frustration than laughter.
The film starts off with reporter Meghan Miles (Elizabeth Banks) interviewing for a position as a news anchor for a national cable news network. Two weeks later, we find out that Meghan has suffered from a major breakup, and that she has lost the job to a new anchor from San Francisco. To help her forget about her troubles, her friends Rose (Gillian Jacobs) and Denise (Sarah Wright) take Meghan out for a night of drinks, dancing and most of all: sex.
Meghan finds herself in the arms of bartender-writer Gordon (James Marsden). After a one-night stand, Meghan gets a call for a second chance to the biggest opportunity of her life. Stranded in downtown LA, she has to navigate her way through weird and wacky circumstances.
The main idea of the film revolves around assumptions. When Meghan steps out of Gordon’s apartment in the middle of downtown LA in a skimpy yellow dress, her world is turned upside down by people’s assumptions. The idea is presented well, as most of the comedy of the film is meant to be carried out through every character’s assumption of Meghan in the film; however, the film quickly becomes hard to watch because of the unrealistic nature of it all. For example, Meghan is mistaken as a prostitute soliciting herself on the streets. She is stopped by police officers, who do not take the time to even listen to her story. This, along with many other events in the film, was meant to serve as comedy, when in reality it was just plain frustrating. The film consistently had to reach to create exaggerated situations that ended up coming off as just plain silly, and not funny.
Besides its unrealistic nature, Meghan’s journey is similarly subpar. The staple of one-night adventure comedies are the situations that characters get themselves into while on their journey. There are some incredibly unique situations, like Meghan’s work being critiqued by gang members Skrilla (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), Hulk (Da’Vone McDonald) and Pookie (Alphonso McAuley) in a crack house. But other events seem cliched and random, like when Meghan tries to steal a bike from a kid who requests to see her breasts in return, or when she randomly stumbles upon a Jewish rabbi and sings Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” to him. These events have either been done way too many times, or had no real impact on the film and seemed to be there for the sake of existing.
With such terrible jokes and a subpar storyline, the film only has its acting to go on. Most of the time we are with Banks, and she does not disappoint. Although the jokes were so bad they were beyond repair, Banks’ acting really kept the film going. The impound scene exemplifies this the most. Meghan finally manages to find her car, but an uptight clerk prevents her from entering it, because she looks like a prostitute, even though she has the keys. In a very brief confrontation, Banks truly encapsulates the feeling of being so close, yet very far. She goes as far as to lick the bulletproof glass of an impound lot’s front desk. Banks really tried to carry the film, but its lack of original content made that an impossible feat.
All in all, films such as “The Hangover” were a success because they focus on true misunderstandings, and the events were strangely unique and fun. “Walk Of Shame” rips off cliched events in an underwhelming fashion and has to stretch to make its comedy funny, which only makes the film unrealistic and completely frustrating to watch.
Rating: 1 star