Everybody has a bad day, but chances are they were nothing like the bad day suffered by Elizabeth Banks in Walk of Shame, a raunchy comedy that’s a mash-up of The Hangover and After Hours.
Banks stars as Meghan Miles, a news reporter who is in line for a promotion to lead anchor and about to get married. However, everything falls apart in quick fashion. Her handsome fiancé (Oliver Hudson) dumps her while the new promotion goes to someone else. Meghan decides to blow off some steam with her best friends, feisty Rose (Gillian Jacobs) and dim bulb Denise (Sarah Wright), for a night of drinking and debauchery. Meghan spends the night with handsome bartender Gordon (James Marsden). Since this is Los Angeles, he’s not really a bartender, he’s actually a writer. Either way, he’s living in a hip loft that neither a bartender nor a struggling writer could afford.
Meghan receives a late night phone call from her producer (Willie Garson) that the anchor position is open once more after the prospective candidate was fired due to some embarrassing photos. Meghan tries to rush to the studio, but her car (with her purse and ID inside) has been towed away. She’s locked out of the building and can’t remember which apartment was Gordon’s. Oh, and she forgot her cell phone after being frightened by her one night stand’s cat. Meghan finds herself wandering the streets in a skin-tight yellow dress, which causes everyone to mistake her for a hooker.
Walk of Shame was written and directed by Steven Brill, whose resume includes Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds, and Drillbit Taylor. That will give you a good clue as to the level of sophistication at play here. Walk of Shame derives much of its humor from racial stereotypes and the humiliation of its starlet. Banks stumbles around and becomes the subject of scorn by judgmental bystanders and a pair of smug police officers (Bill Burr, Ethan Suplee). If they aren’t lecturing her, then they’re propositioning her from a devout Jew believing she was sent by the devil to tempt her or a horny kid who wants to get a look at her boobs. The only helpful individuals Meghan encounters are three gangsters who offer her shelter in a crack house before it’s attacked by a rival gang.
To be fair, Banks does her best. Her beauty and winning personality still shine through the dull material. She’s a bright woman who is forced to act foolishly for the sake of the screenplay. The central joke involving her figure hugging attire doesn’t even work. In L.A., that’s dressing conservatively. Out of all the contrivances that force Meghan into her precarious predicament, one is surprisingly clever. Even when she’s able to make a call, Meghan can’t remember anyone’s number since they were saved in her old phone. Welcome to the 21st century. Marsden is well cast, but he isn’t given much to do outside of being the genial love interest. Fans of stand-up comedy might enjoy the brief appearances by Bill Burr, Bryan Callen as a sketchy drug dealer, and Tig Notaro as an extremely unhelpful owner of an impound lot. There’s also Ken Davitian as a taxi driver and Kevin Nealon as a traffic reporter with an odd personal life.
The video is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. The transfer is sharp and clean with bold colors. In particular, Elizabeth Banks’ chic, yellow dress stands out. The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The sound is pretty straight-forward for this dialogue heavy comedy though there’s some nice immersion and bass going on during the raucous night club scenes.
None, except a few trailers for other Universal releases that play as the disc starts.
Film Value: 4
In more capable hands, Walk of Shame might have had something profound to say about slut shaming and internet infamy. Instead, we get another comedy that goes for the lowest hanging fruit available.