Director: Steven Brill
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, Oliver Hudson, Kevin Nealon, Ethan Suplee, Sarah Wright, Bill Burr, Liz Carey, Ken Davitian, Willie Garson, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Alphonso McAuley, Tig Notaro
RunTime: 1 hr 34 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Coarse Language)
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & InnoForm Media
Official Website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/walk_of_shame
Opening Day: 8 May 2014
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.
There is real screwball potential in Ms Elizabeth Banks, an actress getting her first big break as lead in the Steven Brill written-and-directed comedy ‘Walk of Shame’; and yet none of that elan which she amply displayed in ‘Pitch Perfect’ and ‘The 40-Year Old Virgin’ is given due justice in this painfully unfunny and infuriatingly misogynistic farce.
Starring Banks as an uptight TV news anchor whose uncharacteristic night of partying after being dumped by her fiancé threatens her life-changing career break as network anchor, this perfectly-titled pile-on of humiliation has copious shots of her running in strappy high heels and a skin-hugging canary-yellow dress.
It also subjects her to a slew of hooker references, variously described as ‘b---h’, ‘witch’ and ‘whore’. When she approaches a cab driver for help, she is mistaken for a stripper and forced at gunpoint to agree to perform a lap dance. A little boy orders her to “show me your boobs”. A random stranger on the street calls her on for her “walk of shame”. At every turn, Brill never fails to reiterate the presumption that Banks’ Meghan Miles is a sex worker or one variety or another, and assumes that it will be enough to get his audience laughing.
Even if you can get past its misogynistic nature, there are still the racial stereotypes you have to contend with. Among the ones that Brill unabashedly makes fun of are a trio of African-American crack addicts, a spa owner who is Asian, and a Jewish rabbi at a synagogue, as Meghan’s journey takes her through the more dreary stretches of South and Central Los Angeles. It isn’t pleasant to say the least, but even more so when you consider the kind of distasteful humour on display.
Brill does himself no favours by coming up with obstacles for Meghan that frankly strain credibility. In order to justify putting his character through such misadventures, he imagines not just that Meghan has left her cellphone in the apartment of her gorgeous bartender-author, but also that her car gets towed right in front of her eyes with her purse inside. Oh, and she also doesn’t quite remember said bartender’s apartment number in order to go back, nor is she able to find any helpful denizen in Los Angeles while walking along its streets for close to 12 hours.
There must certainly be something missing when you find that the bartender’s ill-tempered cat is probably one of the funnier scenes of the film, though to be fair, the fault isn’t that of Banks at all. On the contrary, she manages to escape unscathed thanks to a lively display of character comedy that makes the movie even watchable in the first place. Her co-stars aren’t quite so lucky - as the bartender, James Marsden is relegated to a blandly generic hunk; while Gillian Jacobs from TV’s Community and Sarah Wright Olsen from 21 & Over are also equally dull as Meghan’s best friends who are responsible for getting her drunk and subsequently for her rescue.
No rescue however is in sight for this lumpy and laughless joke of a comedy from frequent Adam Sandler collaborator Steven Brill, whose resume of ‘Little Nicky’ and ‘Drillbit Taylor’ reinforces just why he seems to ruin every joke he tells. There is hardly little to be amused at in ‘Walk of Shame’, whose best bits are already amply displayed in the trailer. What you’ll see is a missed opportunity for Banks to finally let her wit and energy shine in this ‘Hangover’ wannabe, which should quickly skunk its way out of theatres before it does itself and its principals any further shame.