L.A. nightly newscaster Meghan Miles has a one night stand with a bartender. In the early morning hours she rushes out of his apartment to chase after her car as it is being towed away. Once the car recedes from view she realizes she has been locked out and that she has no idea which buzzer to ring to wake him. She decides to try to get back to her house by herself, setting into motion a series of mishaps that include getting adopted by a crack dealing gang, getting shot at by a different gang, giving a fat cab driver a back massage in a seedy parlor, and stealing a middle schooler’s bike.
This is the sort of movie that has to juggle plates: getting from point A to point B is such a simple proposition most of the time that for this premise to be stretched to movie length there has to be a never ending series of problems. Those problems have to be logical enough to be believable but preposterous enough to be funny. Characters are going to have to be introduced quickly enough that they will inevitably be stereotypical, but they can’t be stereotypes that feel lazy or racist. Miles has to remain invisible to anyone who would help her conquer such a simple problem but visible to everyone who wants to make her life more complicated.
It’s a tricky path to walk and Walk of Shame walks it well. Elizabeth Banks, who plays Meghan Miles, hits the right notes: she doesn’t descend into entitled bitchiness as her day turns sour, but rather alternates between incredulity, sarcasm and self-pity in a well balanced loop. The gang characters are drawn a little thinly, but the cliched aspects of their lives as drug dealers are counterbalanced a bit by the fact that they are some of the only people that are generous enough to help her. (Pookie the crack addict even gives her $10 worth of crack because he doesn’t have any money to give her.)
Walk of Shame isn’t going to reinvent the wheel, but it’s 90 minutes long, it’s pretty funny, and it’s charming. That’s an easy win for me.