In a phrase, Walk of Shame is absolutely fine. No worse and no better. It’s a movie that may as well have every frame rubber-stamped with the word “passable” from beginning to end. I like to call these kind of films “just enoughs.” Just enoughs are movies that are made with just enough comedy, just enough energy and just enough plot to keep the audience ticking over in a state of semi-entertainment. It’s not ambitious and it’s far from brilliant, but 2014’s been a pretty rubbish year for comedy thus far, and I’d much rather watch Walk of Shame’s smattering of laughs than ever have to sit through Cuban Fury again.
In a plot that all but begs for a God-awful tagline along the lines of “she’s spent her whole life following the big news stories, but she still doesn’t know how to follow her heart,” Elizabeth Banks plays Meghan, a local news anchor who’s having a pretty rubbish day. Via various inevitable comedic contrivances (her car’s towed, she’s locked out of the house, and so on) Meghan has to hoof it on foot across the scuzzier end of LA to get into work on time and bag a swanky new job at a national network.
You’ve seen it all before, and you’re no doubt going to see it again – but hell, I laughed a few times throughout the film and Banks is actually pretty great. There’s a strange enjoyment to be derived from watching her totter around in far-too-high heels. She looks near constantly on the verge of falling over, her frantic clip-clopping nicely reflecting her manic comedic stylings. That being said, I wouldn’t call it a show-stealing performance, because there’s really not much of a show to steal. Plus, hers is the only character written with even a modicum of originality. The rest of the ensemble is the usual parade of by the numbers comedic stereotypes, from Gillian Jacobs’ foul-mouthed best friend to a motley crew of nice-guy drug dealers who tread the fine line between sort of funny and blandly racist.
I guess the handful of laughs I enjoyed across the span of Walk of Shame‘s runtime could be considered somewhat sub par for a feature length comedy, but as an overall experience I can’t say I really begrudge it my time. It could be argued that this is a sign of diminished expectations – a cinematic buzz-phrase that’s been thrown frequently around critical circles ever since Michael Bay decided to make a film featuring an Aerosmith song – but that’s not the case here. There have always been films like Walk of Shame, there will continue to be films like Walk of Shame, and every single one of them will unremarkably drift off into the ether, never to be seen again.
It sounds like damning with faint praise, and that’s because it is – the best compliment I can pay Walk of Shame is that it didn’t annoy or upset me in any way, shape or form. It’s a film that’s content to shy away from any possible significant issue, in spite of brushing over prostitution, gang wars, gender equality and plenty more. It knows it’s not an important movie, and as such this gambit of social issues is only payed the most fleeting of glances. It’s a film that sets the bar un-ambitiously low, but that’s infinitely better than one driven by pompous and misguided social “significance” à la Dear White People.
I haven’t voiced a single strong opinion about Walk of Shame over the course of this whole review, and that’s because it’s not really the kind of film that demands them. It’s perfectly tolerable and inoffensive stuff, and it will be all but completely forgotten come the end of the month. I laughed a few times, Elizabeth Banks puts in a good shift, and there’s really not that much else to say. For an hour and a half I existed in a kind of perfectly amiable cinematic limbo, and then exited into the real world in a state of total and utter ambivalence.
Despite Elizabeth Banks' swashbuckling performance, Walk of Shame is about as mediocre as they come.