The awkward walk of shame — the morning after a night out (usually a one-night-stand) marked by a woman hobbling home at 7 a.m. in sky-high heels, cocktail dress, and smudged mascara. Usually this humiliation lasts during the brief passing of neighbors on the way to the front door, but for Meghan Miles, it becomes an all-day adventure as she struggles to get to her dream-job interview.

In the tradition of After Hours, Adventures in Babysitting, and especially The Out of Towners, Walk of Shame follows a desperate character just trying to get somewhere in a span of a few hours, but crazy circumstances stand in the way at every turn. Walk of Shame marches us through the city of Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Banks plays sunny broadcast news journalist Meghan Miles. With a Texas upbringing, focused career ambitions, and a closet full of pantsuits instead of skeletons, Meghan is the ultimate good girl. In the beginning of the film, we see that she is up for an anchor position and presents herself as the picture perfect girl-next-store.

In a string of bad luck, she loses the gig to another journalist and her fiancé has dumped her — all in the same day. Her sassy girlfriends (Gillian Jacobs from Community and Sarah Wright from Parks and Recreation) step in to take her out for a wild girls’ night out. It is clear that Meghan is the conservative one in the group; she doesn’t even own a tight party dress — the kind you might see a Kardashian wearing. Out of charity, her friend Denise lends Meghan her revealing, bright yellow dress (leaving Denise with one of Meghan’s pantsuits).


With her life out of control, the rarely-indulgent Meghan promptly downs shots and flirts with the club goers. Getting drunk, she finds herself separated from the girls and locked out of the club. Fortunately, prince charming (a.k.a. Gordon the bartender) comes to her rescue (played by James Marsden). It’s cringe-worthy when the movie tries hard to make Gordon seem like a good guy and perfect gentleman (he’s not just a bartender, he’s really a sensitive writer) even though he proceeds to take home and bed the completely wasted Meghan (it was her idea so…).


As the hung-over Meghan comes to in the wee hours of the morning, she gets a voice mail from her boss. The other journalist fell through, so she still has a shot at the anchor gig! In a final audition, the network will be watching her in action during her live 5 p.m. broadcast. Inadvertently leaving her phone, she runs out of the stranger’s downtown Los Angeles apartment and soon realizes her car with everything in it has been towed. Stranded without her phone, car, or purse, Meghan tries to get to the tow lot in time for her big broadcast.

Stuck in high heels and the provocative dress from the night before, she has the longest “walk of shame” ever. Along the way, she wreaks havoc in LA while running into wacky characters and situations that include drug dealers, cops, and perverts.

It’s nice to see the effervescent Elizabeth Banks leading a film; however Walk of Shame ultimately fizzles out. Whatever goofy situation Meghan Miles finds herself in, Banks is funny, entertaining, and proves she can carry a movie beyond the supporting parts of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and The Hunger Games franchise. It’s just too bad that this script doesn’t match her abilities.

Her two girlfriends add little to the movie. One is dumb and the other is caustic — that’s pretty much the extent of these characters. James Marsden makes a competent and of course gorgeous male lead, but there is nothing new or different about Gordon that you haven’t already seen in Marsden’s 27 Dresses role. The character is innocuous, underdeveloped, and as mentioned, unbelievable. The scenes with these three peripheral characters are a bit of a bore, and during them you hope the film will soon turn back to Banks.


The opening sequence of news reports-gone-wrong sets up the movie on a high comedic note, and Kevin Nealon is hilarious as Chopper Steve, the inappropriate traffic reporter who pops up throughout the film. Unfortunately, besides these broadcast news shenanigans, the comedy does not spark on the streets of Los Angeles where the movie largely takes place. The characters she encounters are just not that memorable or as funny as they should be.

Movies like The Hangover and Bridesmaids prove that it is possible for a comedy to be both outrageous and clever, and female-driven comedies are a welcome trend, but Walk of Shame limps nowhere. The film does make a keen observation about unfairly judging a woman’s character by how she looks, but regrettably this comes in a rushed conclusion that feels anticlimactic.

See this movie if you are a fan of Elizabeth Banks’ previous comedic work, but otherwise skip or wait until this comes on cable for a few lighthearted low-brow chuckles.