Elizabeth Banks is one of the best comediennes working today, and she always brings something interesting to a part, be it big or small. She should be a bigger star and films like Walk of Shame aren’t going to help prove it as the film ended up debuting in theaters and on VOD at the same time for a reason. A high concept movie that leaves its star to wallow in embarrassment, there’s probably a sharp film to be made of the story of a woman who, after a night of casual sex, ends up having to make her way through the city to finally get her car and life back — but this isn’t it. James Marsden and Gillian Jacobs co-star and my Walk of Shame Blu-ray review follows after the jump.
Meghan Miles (Banks) is a news anchor in Los Angeles who is on the precipice of a network anchor position. She’s good at her job and she’s only up against one other candidate, so it’s looking good. When in talks with the network, they ask repeatedly if she has any skeletons in her closet because they don’t want to find out that there’s embarrassing personal moments now frozen forever on the internet. At first the network goes with other candidate, and when Meghan’s friends Rose and Denise (Jacobs, Sarah Wright Olsen) come over to help her to celebrate, they find out that not only that Meghan didn’t get the job, but also that her boyfriend has just moved out. So they dress Meghan provocatively and take her drinking. There they do shot after shot, and though Meghan has no interest in the men they’re around, she goes out on a balcony and gets her heel caught in a grate. There she meets Gordon (Marsden), and the two have cute banter, which leads to him driving her to his place.
The two then have a wild but not explicit night together, but when she wakes up she gets a message that the network wants to see her that evening as they passed on the other candidate. And so she ends up outside with only her keys as she forgot her phone, but then finds her car is being towed and she doesn’t even remember Gordon’s apartment number. In a desperate situation, Meghan plots to retrieve her car (which has her purse in it) on foot and tries to get to the station in time for her final audition.
The film then decides that everyone who runs into her thinks she’s a prostitute, which includes a cab driver (Ken Davitian) two cops (Bill Burr, Ethan Suplee), actual prostitutes, and men who sell drugs. This leads to the introduction of Lawrence Gilliard Jr. as Skrilla, and though the roles for him and his drug-dealing/using friends Pookie (Alphonso McAuley) and Hulk (Da’Vone McDonald) are thin and borderline offensive, the fact that Gillard’s a vet of The Wire and that he and his guys have amusing comic banter lifts the film up for a moment or two. Ultimately, this is a trial of errors that recalls Adventures in Babysitting as incident piles up on incident, all keeping Meghan from getting to her car and work, while her best friends end up meeting up with Gordon and dragging him on their hunt to find Meghan.
The biggest problem with the movie is that it presumes people would mistake Banks for a prostitute. There’s an interesting idea there in the modern disconnect that could happen for someone who does local news (in an era where more and more people get their information from the internet) being at a loss why people don’t know who she is, but that’s not what the film is playing on. Considering the nature of her dress and the fact that she doesn’t seem to actually be soliciting, the film makes the most sense if the characters are unable to process emotion or have no empathy in that many can’t see this woman as someone in need of help. That though seems more a fault with the writing and direction, both of which come from Steven Brill (Mr. Deeds, Without a Paddle). You can imagine the pitch meeting going over well — the title sells the movie — but the film needed to have a better fallback than “mistaken for a ho.”
Banks and company are all pretty charming, and it says something that I would happily watch another movie with the cast, but preferably doing something better. There’s a lot of talent here, but this seems like a throwback to bad romantic comedies from the 1990’s. There are enough little things from the performers that makes this not a complete waste of time, but everyone deserves better.
Focus Features presents the film on Blu-ray in widescreen (2.35:1) and in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. The film was released theatrically and day and date on VOD, and the transfer is great for what it is, but this is the opposite of a demo disc. The film comes with a digital copy, but no supplements.