Walk of Shame

walk-of-shame-movie-review

Walk of Shame, written and directed by Steven Brill of Movie 43 infamy, starring Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden and a striking yellow dress is the latest female-led situation comedy attempting to resonate with audiences. Banks plays Meghan Miles, an uptight yet perky news anchor who, following a slew of bad news, parties like its 1999 right into the bed of attractive bartender/writer James Marsden. Come morning, Meghan then must make the ‘walk of shame’ in an attempt to get back to her car so she can get to work at the local news station. What happens next can only be described as Adventures in Babysitting for the pseudo-lobotomised generation. Sure, Banks is likeable enough, she has enough comic prowess to hold my attention, and there are a few jokes that really zing… however, it simply isn’t funny or clever enough. Or even one of the above. If you are going to rely on a heavily questionable narrative that rides the wave of implausibility for the entire 94 minutes then the jokes need to be heaped on and they need to hit the mark. If these jokes aren’t there as a pillar to hold the whole film together, then the narrative needs to be solid, including a lead character for whom you can root. Walk of Shame wasn’t nearly funny enough for us to ignore the pulsating rage at the stupidity of Bank’s character or the sheer lack of humanity from any of the supporting characters. As an aside, if you don’t want to burn that dress by the end of the film then you are a better person than me.

All in all, Walk of Shame just doesn’t make the grade as a comedy, or as anything else either. Tonally it felt confused, jumping from outright misogyny and then to bar-burning feminism, which made it difficult to see at which market this is really aimed.  I want to call this film Walk of Same, as it feels as tired as it does flat, but then I thought that Steven Brill’s A Series of Unfortunately Written Events seemed more fitting.

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Bachelorette

bachelorette

Last year’s female ensemble comedy, Bachelorette, is basically The Hangover, but instead of the groomsmen losing the groom, the bridal party have a misdemeanor with the bride’s dress and things get craaazy.

You may think my tone here is one of formal comedy snobbery. However, even though the plot of this movie breaks no new ground, and it is as predictable as Swiss cheese, there aren’t too many holes in what actually turned out as quite an enjoyable comedy. The comediennes Rebel Wilson and Lizzy Caplan, joined up with Isla Fisher and the lead, Kirsten Dunst, all play best friends and somewhat cookie-cutter characters (like the rest of the cast), but on evidence here they all have multiple funny bones in their bodies. The standout performance was from Lizzy Caplan, who delivers her coke-addled, wise-cracking yet insecure New York thirty-something with consummate ease.

Sometimes it felt like the humour was verging on tired, especially when one of the running jokes dealt with the mass use of a white class A drug, nevertheless, it was edgy enough at points. And there weren’t myriad dick and ball jokes, and the ones they did include weren’t the punchline of a major scene. There were also moments of genuine darkness that went beyond dark humour, which grounded the lives of these women in some reality, as it dealt with drug abuse, eating disorders and the results of one of life’s most difficult choices. The only real ‘problem’, if one can call it that, I had with this movie was a casting choice that verged heavily into racial stereotype territory, which was pretty awkward to watch.

Obviously, comparisons can be drawn between Bachelorette and Bridesmaids, and as a person with male genitalia that has seen both movies, I think I enjoyed this one more. One could argue that Bridesmaids broke the comedy mold by ushering in an age of strong female ensembles, and while Bachelorette is piggybacking on its success, the question is this; what white, male, conservative, American comedy movies have you seen in the last 5 years that have done anything original?