Walk Of Shame: Elizabeth Banks Struts Mean Streets In LA Underbelly Romp

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No matter the story in movies lately, whether solemn or silly, they usually seem to end up being about joblessness these days – or the frustrating search for employment. And while the latter sentiment of laughs on the light side may best characterize Steven Brill’s urban comedy, Walk Of Shame, there’s a lot kicking in from the sidelines too in this LA underbelly romp, checking in to the proceedings as a kind of goofy along with grim state of the nation journey.

Elizabeth Banks is Meghan Miles, the feisty female in question on the run, literally and figuratively. As she sprints through the mostly seedy streets of LA, dodging con artists and cops alike. Which is what is fatefully in store for this designated perplexed protagonist after a drunken evening out on the town; a subsequent one night stand with the chivalrous bartender (James Marsden); and a rude awakening at dawn that her car, phone and purse are missing. And a desperate flight for the duration, trying to make her way to work auditioning at a new job across town, as a television news anchor.

Not that Meghan is exactly thrilled in the fulfillment department about that line of work, in a movie which pauses occasionally during the breathless antics to reflect on just how mindless the media can be. Where, for instance, gushing about the largest meatball in the world residing over in Genoa, takes precedence over talking about the latest G8 conference on the air.

At the same time, a procession of eccentric locals provides daffy detours around every bend. Counting the occupants of a crack den offering the rookie anchor sound advice on how to loosen up her style and connect better with her audience on the air; an orthodox synagogue male congregation that mistakens her for an apparition sent by satanic forces, even though she’s just begging for bus fare; and a bad seed young boy willing to lend the freaked fugitive his bike, but only in exchange first for a peek at her chest.

The lessons Meghan learns along the way have lots of wisdom going for them too, however wacky, Including humanizing insight about hookers after she’s pegged as one too. And a showdown with that nightly news teleprompter, when she realizes, ‘I can’t read this story, because it’s not true.’ Amen.

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.