Sometimes studios don’t screen movies for critics because they don’t want plot twists to leak out in advance, or because they’re in a genre whose core audience doesn’t care about reviews. And sometimes, they do it because the movies suck. Based on the reviews coming in after this morning’s public screenings, “Walk of Shame” falls squarely in the latter category. Its premise, which finds Elizabeth Banks’ aspiring news anchor slinking across Los Angeles in a skintight, canary-yellow dress after drowning her sorrows with a one-night stand, reeks of sexism — remember when Lake Bell woke up in a strange man’s bed in “In a World…” and didn’t have to feel guilty about using a man for sex? — and though “Walk of Shame” apparently attempts to turn its double-standard inside out with a closing speech, almost no one’s buying it. Here’s what critics have to say so far:
Dustin Rowles, Pajiba
Nothing happens in “Walk of Shame” that we don’t see coming, and there’s nothing in the film that’s more interesting than whatever you’re looking at on your phone while you’re trying to watch it.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, A.V. Club
Despite the presence of cell phones, awkward social media references, and an ending that pays lip-service to the premise, “Walk of Shame” ultimately boils down to the sort of normative comedy that was popular 30 years ago — the kind that ribs the well-off and upwardly mobile for their prissiness, in a way that feels like the Hollywood equivalent of a joke about the boss’ golf game at a company Christmas party.
Mike Scott, Times-Picayune
Even when it’s at its best, “Walk of Shame” is rarely more than merely amusing. On the other hand, when it’s at its worst, it’s nothing short of insulting, thanks to its willingness to engage in the kind of gross stereotyping that treads uncomfortably close to racist territory.
Linda Ge, Up and Comers
Aside from her white BFFs, white love interest and a couple of white cops, every other person of color she comes across is a degenerate of society in some way, usually in the most negatively stereotypical way possible. Three black guys turn out to be crack dealers and gang members. A Middle Eastern cab driver tries to solicit sexual favors in exchange for cab fare. An Asian message parlor is hinted to be a front for a brothel. Megan eventually is accused of committing a possible hate crime in one of the film’s funnier moments, but it’s an ironic thing to joke about when you imagine what the casting notices for this film must have looked like.
Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
The film has its occasionally amusing moments, such as the drug dealers delivering a surprisingly thoughtful critique of Meghan’s news anchoring skills and her run-in with an officious car impound clerk (a very funny Tig Notaro). But most of the would-be humor, including Kevin Nealon’s seemingly improvised riffing as a feckless traffic reporter monitoring the action from his helicopter, seems lazily tossed off.
Matt Patches, IGN
“Walk of Shame” is only sporadically funny, but revisiting the well-tread format with a female perspective feels refreshing and necessary.
Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com
“Walk of Shame” has a germ of an idea concerning the delicate nature of social media history, watching network officials step carefully during the hiring process — an idea that could inspire its own movie. Yet, Brill quickly returns to the dopey stuff before concluding “Walk of Shame” with an absurd “be true to yourself” message that’s completely bogus. However, the stupidity of such a closer would be more offensive if the rest of the picture showed even the slightest care with its premise. Instead, Brill just slaps random sentiment on an already scattershot effort.