– Summary –
Director : Steven Brill
Year Of Release : 2014
Principal Cast : Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, Sarah Wright, Ethan Suplee, Oliver Hudson, Willie Garson.
Approx Running Time : 95 Minutes
Synopsis: A reporter’s dream of becoming a news anchor is compromised after a one-night stand leaves her stranded in downtown L.A. without a phone, car, ID or money – and only 8 hours to make it to the most important job interview of her life.
What we think : Dull, unfunny, sporadically stupid “comedy” delivers pain instead of laughs. Instead of clawing out your own eyeballs, just skip this miasma and watch something more interesting and intelligent – like any episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Because Walk Of Shame is execrable.
Film of shame.
Walk of Shame begins on a very shaky premise. The premise that somebody – in today’s interconnected world – could remain un-contactable and bereft of even the slightest assistance is something Walk of Shame cannot overcome. Not for one minute did I buy into the fact that somebody as attractive and well known as Elizabeth Banks’ character, minor celebrity, could be forced to encounter and endure all manner of problems as she walks across Los Angeles to get her new job. With this being the case, the humor and situational comedy derived from Banks’ performance fell utterly flat for me, something I half expected because the films’ trailer didn’t exactly set my world on fire. The end result of this film, as distastefully sexist and rife with cliches as it is, is to simply scoff at the money wasted and walk away, content that it’s yet another “comedy” masquerading as a “comedy” that I’ll never have to bother with again. Some comedy transcends the genre – hell, Bridesmaids was a lot funnier than I gave the promotional material credit for – but Walk Of Shame is merely shameful, a glut of sight gags, stupidity and slapstick that feels more like a forced enema with battery acid than any legitimate entertainment.
Meghan Miles (Elizabeth Banks) is a reporter hoping to snag a plum job as a news anchor for network powerhouse CNB (which, as you might guess, is supposed to be NBC, the first of many “whacky” and “looney” riffs on modern pop-culture!). After being dumped by her boyfriend, Meghan is taken out for a night on the town by best friend Rose (Gillian Jacobs) and Rose’s friend Denise (Sarah Wright). After a boozy night spent in the arms of local bartender Gordon (James Marsden), Meghan wakes to learn that the anchor job she thought she’d lost to a rival has suddenly become a possibility again, but only if she makes it across the city within 8 hours to meet with CNB executives. After accidentally leaving her phone up in Gordon’s apartment and with her car being towed away, Meghan is forced to wander the streets of Los Angeles in nothing but a tight-fitting yellow dress, encountering numerous unhelpful LA natives in her quest to return to the television station and kick-start her career. Along the way, she is pursued by two dimwitted policemen, has a run in with drug dealers, a paranoid taxi-driver, works briefly at a massage parlor (don’t ask, it’s as horrible as it sounds) and even a vastly unhelpful lady at the impound lot – all, meanwhile, while her friends are desperately trying to track her down.
The point at which Walk Of Shame lost me was practically at the start. An opening credit montage of newsreader goofs and blunders (which, as far as I can tell, are recreations of actual newsreader blunders… why?) sets the stage for this whacky and hi-lariously overblown film to bake itself a cake of adult-themed raunch and goodness. Anybody who has ever seen 2002’s The Sweetest Thing will know how badly a female-centric raunch-comedy can end up being, so if I was equate this film with that stinker, you have some idea as to just how mediocre and…. I hate to use the term, but “lame” Walk Of Shame is. Elizabeth Banks has to do a lot of heavy lifting in this film, making even the most mindless, inane comedic sequences work as best she can – an early scene involving Gordon’s crazy-eyed cat is of particular interest, since it’s such a shockingly poor moment meant to shovel this story into action once Meghan awakes with her hangover, and although Banks works her ass off to sell it, it never flies. As her quest to return to work (as if!) continues, and she meets more stupid, vacuous and utterly deranged members of Los Angeles society (special mention to Ethan Suplee and Bill Burr as two of LA’s most inept and belligerent policemen to have ever been portrayed), the story piles stupidity and inanity upon itself, heaping the “laughs” as best it can while trying desperately to scrape even the most minute moment of interest from the most ridiculous situation.
I lay all the blame for this shitty film at Steven Brill, who directs his own screenplay with the comedic timing and subtlety of having your scrotum ripped off in an industrial accident. While the film does try and offer some dialogue on sexism, classism and misogyny throughout Meghan’s experiences, and reduces the film to a – frankly, insipid – three minute monologue by Banks as a closer, Walk Of Shame earns little of its supposed point in amongst the silly, benign and utterly contrived shenanigans, ending up more a mess of sequences strung together simply by watching Banks strut her stuff in a skanky outfit for 90 minutes. Brill lacks patience for developing a comedic situation, intent instead on just sledgehammering away at slapstick double-takes and bizarre situational material that makes little sense other than to resemble a badly made Looney Toon. The film’s single-joke premise wears too thin too soon, leaving little room to redeem itself by the time the closing credits painfully crawl up the screen.
Honestly, I can almost forgive all involved in this turd of a thing for making me sit through it – as a critic, I endeavor to review all the films I see, whether they interest me, entertain me, or just plain bore me. Walk Of Shame is a shameful comedic exercise in tedium, stupidity and bone-headed scenarios that play out as humdrum, hamfisted comedy junk that does nobody here any favors. Made purely to entertain the lowest common denominator audience, if you find this kind of film funny and entertaining, then you need to take a long, hard, shameful look at yourself. Ugh, what a pile of shit.
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