By Ana Banu
I always have low expectations when I watch comedies that don’t include people with a clear comedic past, whom I already know – from stand-up mostly. It’s getting harder and harder to write jokes and a decent story that doesn’t make your brain hurt.
Walk of Shame is most definitely an easy watch, a sort of break after a day at the beach, but is in no way discardable like many of the comedies I’ve seen these past two years. It might look like that from the trailer and the apparent storyline, but seeing it joke for joke, it manages to get you into a relaxed state of mind where you don’t feel like the screenwriters underestimated you.
The plot is relatively simple. Meghan Miles (Elizabeth Banks) is a TV correspondent who works at a local station, which doesn’t offer many exciting opportunities for her future. Fortunately, a new bright prospect appears at a different network where she could be a news anchor. The future she dreamt of is suddenly a lot closer than she had imagined. However, shortly after the big news, everything starts falling apart. She gets dumped by her boyfriend, the job prospect is no longer as confident as before, and she gets so drunk during an e. She, with her best friends, ends up cashless, carless, and phoneless in the middle of LA, Not the most ingenious plot, but at least you have this gorgeous. Still, who gets thrown a series of unfortunate events at her and faces them in all their glory.
I’m going to go as far as to mention an old film that Walk of Shame reminded me of, though I’m aware I’m over complementing Walk of Shame. I’m thinking Martin Scorsese’s After Hours (1985), where a clerk has the worst night of his life after agreeing to call on a girl he met earlier that evening. The night is a series of weird and unfortunate events that make his life seem ridiculous and incredibly cruel. The situations in After Hours are infinitely more exciting. The dialogue – as far as I remember – is far superior. In the end, both films took a significant character and threw him/ her in the middle of a long night (and a bit of the subsequent morning) when the universe is ready to play trick after trick on you.
Despite having a character (Meghan) who isn’t easily related to, you get to see her in situations that ask for some of your empathy, although your brain might be thinking, “God, I can’t believe I’m wasting my time watching this film.” And one of the things comedy is supposed to do is release and free your mind of daily clutter. One of the situations has Meghan in a crack house with three – each scary in their way – drug dealers/ addicts. After she confirms being “the bitch on the news,” a sort of respect settles, and the four of them form a bond. What plays a big part in how you perceive the film is Elizabeth Bank’s acting, which is as lively as the color of her dress. She pulls off a one-person show that I’m sure will lure in writers and directors.
There’s also some chemistry between her and her one night stand, which happens after many tequila shots. Gordon (James Marsden) plays a bartender that ends up being her savior twice. The two starred in another film a while back called Heights, where the chemistry between the two was also present. However, as fun as Banks made her character, we can’t say the same about all the others. They’re vaguely interesting and boringly one dimensional. There’s a flimsy attempt with Gordon, in the sense that we find out that he’s not just a bartender, but also has artistic goals like being a writer, but it’s not nearly enough.
All in all, it’s always easier to dismiss a comedy based on how you think it’s going to be, rather than watch it and take it as its face value. Steven Brill’s Walk of Shame might not be a masterpiece, but it carries its kind of honesty that comes from a decently written script and some nice comedic acting.