Thursday, June 26, 2014

Walk of Shame: Movie Review


A long walk of disbelief to get to some comedy, romance and feel-good acceptance.
“Walk of Shame” stars Elizabeth Banks as Meghan Miles a local LA news reporter. She’s a girl trying to uphold her good girl image but also get over the heartbreak of the end of her engagement. And thus one night out leads to a really, really long walk of shame across Los Angeles involving a little comedy, some romance and a lot of awkward misunderstandings. 2014

Directed by: Steven Brill

Screenplay by: Steven Brill

Starring: Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden

The movie has a really brisk pace as it quickly introduces us to Meghan at her place of work (what passes for journalism these days), we then find Meghan mourning her break-up and introducing us to her best friends, and we then find Meghan drunk at a bar flirting with a really handsome bartender named Gordon (James Marsden). Later she wakes up and decides to make it home.

This is the point where you will either like the movie (to some degree) or hate it. Meghan leaves Gordon’s apartment with her car keys only to discover that her car is being towed away with her purse in it. She doesn’t know Gordon’s name or how to get back to his apartment, where she coincidentally left her cell phone. She has no money, no phone or a way back home. Most of the problems up until now can be explained with “she was drunk,” but most of the problems this point on can really only be explained with “she’s stupid” or “everybody’s stupid.” So you either accept the film’s premise and move onto the comedy, or just give up now.

The comedy comes in the form of her being mistaken for a prostitute, her being a crack whore, her becoming a crack-cocaine dealer, her being a Jew hater and some combination of all of the above at some point during the film. Interestingly, it’s pretty tame. The R-rating is for language, but the prostitution and crack dealing doesn’t actually occur, it’s just for laughs. While the laughs are minimal and pedestrian, it is funny enough (if you accept that Meghan doesn’t have any other options). At first, I found the prostitution jokes and awkward misunderstandings pretty lame, but then she finds her way into a crack house, and those guys really started to amuse me. Once you accept the comedy, it can be pretty funny.

James Marsden was great in the few scenes he was in, but he gets a bigger role if you stick with the film and he added a very welcome element of romance to the romantic comedy. At first Meghan’s stupidity and predicament will get in the way of caring for her, but Banks does a very solid job with the comedy and only a subtle layer of sympathy that by the end you really do want Meghan to find her way home.

The other element of the film is their take on journalism. There were a number of lines indicting what has become of the field, but not nearly as extensive as “All About Steve” handled the joke. But it also leads to what the point of the film really is. As an aspiring news anchor, Meghan has to maintain her good girl image, while her walk of shame does everything it can to completely shatter it. And she has to figure out what she’s concerned about the most. The comedy of her walk can muddle the point and there’s a significant degree of “suspension of disbelief” to get to the comedy, but once you’re past that, “Walk of Shame” offers a little comedy, a little romance, and little feel-good acceptance of who you are, no matter your walk of life.