Walk of Shame is a so-called comedy that attempts to stretch out a 22-minute sit-com episode concept into a 90-minute feature. The title refers to a slang term describing a woman who has to walk back to her house wearing the clothes she wore the night before after a one-night stand. Apart from reminding us once again that even our "enlightened" American culture still has a long way to go in terms of eradicating blatant misogyny, I can’t see why this popular buzzword necessitated a movie of its own to begin with.
Writer/director Steven Brill, whose resume is crawling with Adam Sandler films, obviously tries to quickly capitalize on this trendy concept and move on. The end result is so dumb, broad, predictable, corny and willing to exploit the most shameless stereotypes in order to extract a modicum of giggles from the lowest common denominator that I was shocked to find out it wasn’t produced by Happy Madison, Sandler’s own production company.
Much like Anna Faris and the POS comedies she constantly finds herself in, Elizabeth Banks is an instantly likable and charming actress who brings a consummate professional’s level of energy and integrity into even the most turgid and useless material. In the case of Walk of Shame, her work is cut out for her.
Banks plays goody two-shoes local anchor Meghan, who decides to finally cut loose with a night out on the town after being dumped by her fiancée and losing an impressive Network job. After waking up next to a blatant rom-com archetype (An artistic bohemian bartender played by James Marsden), Meghan finds out that she can still snatch the network gig if she can make it to the station in time to anchor the news.
But since Meghan has lost her car, wallet and cell phone through a spectacular set of idiotic decisions that make us hate the character from minute one, she has no choice but to hoof it through some of the most dangerous parts of LA. In order to extend such a simplistic premise into an involving feature that doesn’t overstay its welcome requires an excellent screenplay, and Steven Brill is definitely not up to the task.
First of all, the circumstances that leave Meghan in such a pickle are absurd. Even though her life is directly in danger at times, Meghan refuses to make very simple choices that could end her nightmare and acts like a sit-com caricature because, well, I can’t think of any other reason but the fact that the running time has to reach 90 minutes.
Apart from Banks and Marsden, the cast is actually pretty impressive. We get Gillian Jacobs from Community, underrated comedian Bill Burr and even Lawrence Gilliard Jr from The Wire. You get D’Angelo Barksdale in your cast and the only role you can think to stick him in is the unusually articulate crack dealer cliché?
A much better writer/director could have produced a dark comedy similar to Martin Scorsese’s often-misunderstood gem After Hours from this concept but Steven Brill definitely doesn’t fit the bill. The audiences walking home after paying good money to see this wreck will perform the only real walk of shame here.
Walk of Shame is now available on Video On Demand.