Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Walk Of Shame (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Hulk immediately ruins the joke by explaining it so I IMMEDIATELY rescind the compliment I just gave this abomination. The only numbers Meghan can think of are her parents, her own number, and her ex-fiance's. She's refuses to call her mom even though that is completely stupid because she could just lie about what's going on and get help that way.  She sends herself a text hoping James will see it on her phone and send help... even though she doesn't text an address so that's totally pointless. She calls Kyle, but when she realizes he's in bed with another woman forgets all about her predicament and starts yelling at him because PRIORITIES!

Hulk and Scrilla take the phone from her, yelling at Kyle to come and get her or else they're going to do some very bad things to him. However Meghan doesn't get a chance to tell Kyle where she is because a rival gang bursts into the hideout and a gun fight breaks out. I'd point out the rival gang is a bunch of stereotypical Mexicans, but who gives a shit at this point?  Scrilla tells Meghan how to get out so she doesn't get shot, Pookie following her. He gives her directions to the impound lot, along with a vial of crack so she can sell it for money. She tells him she can't take it, but he responds with this golden nugget of wisdom that'll go down in cinematic history:

“When a crackhead gives you his crack, you have his heart.”

After pretty much every line in this movie I just imagine uncomfortable silences broken by someone coughing, cricket chirps, and/or a tumbleweed blowing by. Steven Brill is 52 years old, I don't think he exactly has his finger on the pulse of what's hip and funny anymore. Not that he ever did, now that I think about it.

The crack-loving addict asks Meghan to give him and his boys a shoutout next time she's on the air. This is cut with scenes of the two asshole cops getting ordered by their police chief ordering them to bring her in, as she was mentioned leaving the scene of the crime in the gang shooting from earlier. James gets the text on Meghan's phone, calling the number back but gets only Hulk who hangs up on him. Ah, we're going to be setting up everyone in the city looking for her in parallel storylines that'll all intersect at the end. I can see the Big Dumb Ending shaping up already, if I had to guess James will find her and rush her to the news station where she gives her story while the network watches, racing through it as the cops are bursting down the door to arrest her.

Meghan walks to the impound lot as every man she passes on the street pauses to creepily leer at her. Charming. James gets a phone call from Rose on Meghan's phone, who is calling to check. The co-star of this movie finally gets named as Gordon, and only 47 minutes in! Pretty good movie, pretty good. James tells her about the text, so Rose agrees to come get him so they can find Meghan.  This movie cost FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLARS to make... somehow. How expensive IS that Marc Jacobs dress Elizabeth Banks is wearing? And I only know what kind of dress it is because the film went out of its way to tell me. Anyway, because this film was so expensive... for some reason... we pause for a Subway commercial.

Meghan then sees another drug dealer, and you KNOW what's happening next. Yeah, Meghan tries to sell HIM crack. You ever get the feeling you're wasting your time and could be doing something MUCH better? Meghan is quick to qualify that she's not selling it, but rather wants to make a return.  He asks if she has the receipt or the box it came in and I FINALLY LAUGH! Almost an hour into the movie and this comedy has actually made me laugh once! RELEASE THE DOVES!

Her attempt to sell drugs to a drug dealer starts getting heated, so Meghan runs away and jumps on a bus. The driver, played by Niecy Nash of Reno 911! fame, demands fare as Meghan tries to stall for time to get far enough away from the drug dealer. An old lady tears into Meghan about how she has no shame, Meghan snapping back that she's just trying to get to work. The lady asks “Why don't you get your pimp to drive you?”.

That's almost funny, but again Meghan DOESN'T LOOK LIKE A HOOKER! Maybe I'm just some ultra-left wing liberal sex deviant, but I just don't see it. The bus driver quickly realizes Meghan has no money, saying she should retire as a hooker if she can't even make 1.50. She goes on to say if Meghan CAN earn that much money she should use it to buy a sandwich since the reason she can't turn any tricks is because she's a “skinny crack whore”. GOOD GOD. Now we're doing body shaming? I mean this is- this- we've... GOD. I'm afraid to say this, but I don't think things can get any worse than this.

In 1985, legendary director Martin Scorsese unleashed what he dubbed a “dark comedy” upon the world in the form of a film called After Hours. Despite being a Scorsese film it's rather obscure, due to the fact it is flat out WEIRD. Especially coming out when it did, I couldn't even imagine how audiences must have reacted to it as most comedies at the time were things like Back To The Future or Spies Like Us.  It's about a man trying to get home as he experiences a night full of the crazies of New York, and it gets VERY dark at times as the lead deals with things like suicide and murder. Reading the interviews about Walk of Shame, it's apparently meant to be an HOMAGE to After Hours which just makes my zombie brain hurt. Elizabeth Banks brought this up in an interview she did:

One of the reasons I love this movie [Walk of Shame] is that I saw the parallels [to After Hours] and really felt like updating it to downtown LA and turning it around, making it about this woman and giving her a real purpose of getting home, and giving her all these fun characters to interact with. After Hours is a little darker, but I think this tone was more right for us.”

Hmm. Maybe Elizabeth Banks isn't the comic genius I thought she was if she thought "vile and reprehensible" was the right tone for her movie. Movie 43 probably should have been my first clue.  Meghan tries to argue, but then accidentally holds up the vial of crack she's been holding. The bus driver maces her off the bus, as Meghan tries to run away and runs face first into a wall because physical comedy is ALWAYS funny.

Next on the Meghan Miles Guided Tour of Hell is a Jewish Synagogue where she encounters... NO WAY! A Jewish stereotype?! What is this, did Mel Gibson produce this movie or something? Meghan asks him for bus fare but he instead goes on a tirade about Jewish culture and her being a temptress because that's the best way the movie can think to portray him being stingy with money.

But he finally agrees to give her the money if she... sings for him? The fuck? Meghan launches into a terrible rendition of Carly Rae Jepsen's “Call Me Maybe”, because that isn't dated in the SLIGHTEST, and the young man starts... getting off on it. I don't know how to respond to this. Congratulations Walk of Shame, you've broken me.  Older rabbis show up to break this freak show up, calling her a witch which is sadly the nicest thing anyone's said about her thus far. Meghan starts digging in the young man's pockets for money, accidentally pulling out his tzitzit which REALLY sets everyone off.

I sure hope you're up on your Jewish religious traditions, or else the end of that scene would have been incomprehensible like it was for me originally. Doing some research because this movie is putting me to sleep, I found out a tzitzit is a special fringe Jewish men tie to represent their faith, and the forced removal of it like Meghan did is a major party foul.  At the very least, I can say I learned something interesting about another culture thanks to this movie so we have that.

Rose and Denise arrive to pick up Gordon to go looking for their friend while the executives at CNB arrive at Meghan's news station. Dan covers for her absence by saying she's out in the field doing research, when in reality we see Meghan walking down the street to set up another “joke”.  She passes a father and his young daughter, the girl saying “I think that's Lindsay Lohan!”. This movie is now stealing jokes from those timeless “Parody Movie #47,328,396 movies. That's where we're at, if you're keeping score at home.

The CNB executives start getting suspicious, but Dan assures them that Meghan is a “good girl” because this movie keeps trying to hammer that point home. So of course this is going to setup a cutaway gag where Meghan is doing something that ISN'T good... and there she is stealing a kid's bike. Sigh.  She isn't sneaky enough however, as the preteen owner of the bike catches her. She launches into a heartfelt speech about what a horrible day she's been having and how she really needs his help and you KNOW he's going to agree to help her if she flashes him.

When the kid says “show me your boobs and I'll let you borrow it” I didn't even feel vindicated, instead I just felt pathetic because if that's not shooting fish in a barrel I don't know what is. Meghan brings the kid in close... then shoves him to the ground and bikejacks him.  A bit later the two asshole cops, who have been following Meghan's trail of idiocy, come and pick the kid up so he can ID Meghan even though they already know what she looks like... but this is all just a flimsy excuse for the assholes and the kid to have some “funny” banter. It doesn't work.  The cops spot her and the chase is on, so Meghan ducks into a massage parlor that better not be run by Asian women- aaaaaand it's run by Asian women.

Meghan puts on a white overcoat which is smart, then ducks into one of the rooms to hide from the cops. However the room isn't empty, it's occupied by the taxi driver from earlier and he's all fat and naked and hairy! I can't wait for the part where she disgustingly gives him a massage instead of just leaving the room for another one. The cabbie is facedown on the massage table so he doesn't know who she is, so she does a HORRENDOUSLY racist Asian accent as he starts massaging him. Up until this point I will say that Elizabeth Banks, while not funny because she was given nothing funny to say, was at least very watchable as you can really tell she was trying her best to work miracles with each scene. Yeah, not anymore. She's descended into “I do not give fuck one” mode and thus so have I.

The cabbie finally realizes who she is as she runs away, as the movie cuts away to a chase scene ripped off from every Scooby-Doo cartoon you've ever seen. I bet Steven Brill LOVED those shows... forty years ago.  On her way out Meghan ditches her high heels for some running shoes. She also ditches her overcoat which is dumb because it would have helped to conceal her telltale yellow dress and I'm doing it again, aren't I? Searching for logic where there is none. As she runs she JUST HAPPENS to run past the tow yard of the company that towed her car. I would say that's the cheapest coincidence in movie history, but it's just Los Angeles, how many impound lots could they possibly have?

There is a problem though: the tow yard is across the freeway. Now if you remember earlier they said the freeway was shut down for construction, but I won't blame you if you don't remember that. Hell, I wouldn't blame you if you couldn't remember your own name after the war crime that is this story. Naturally, this leads to the freeway slowly opening as Meghan starts to cross the road.  There's also a brief scene where a very bizarre homeless woman won't let Meghan cross until she gives up her running shoes, which she does instead of just shoving her down. I don't know, I really really don't. The cops also arrive and pull their guns on Meghan to freeze, but she takes off running as the cars start coming from both directions.

She just baaaaaaaarely makes it across in a slow motion dive before a car can turn her into road pizza, and makes it to the tow yard. So what's the next obstacle that's going to stop her? I'm going with a clerk that's a huge ignorant redneck played by Larry the Cable Guy, since this is an impound lot and all.  Well, I can't get them all right as the clerk is female. At least she looks vaguely redneck with the BITCHIN' femullet she's rocking. The clerk is actually played by comedian Tig Notaro, who coincidentally played a bartender on the aforementioned TV show Community which again, stars Gillian Jacobs. This information brought to you by Count Van Ghoul, who watches far FAR too many DVDs.

Tig won't let Meghan get her purse out of her car because it's against the rules. Elizabeth Banks continues her downward spiral of acting as she offers Tig a bribe. The clerk says she'd like five hundred dollars... so she can go to Quizno's.  Somewhere in America the CEOs of Subway just ordered Steven Brill's death. Ha hah, just kidding. They didn't watch this movie!  Meghan won't pay so she gets kicked out, taking time to LICK THE DIVIDER WALL between the two as she leaves.  Outside, Meghan sees a tow truck entering the yard so she jumps on the back to sneak in. But it can't be that easy, as she discovers someone smashed out her window and stole her purse. She finally does the smartest thing she's done all day: yell out “fuck this!” and try to drive her way out of the movie.

Tig spots her via security camera, activating the security doors which close around her car and trap her. But then it's Gordon to the rescue, as he and Meghan's friends were tracking her via a GPS device she had on her keys. Yeah, whatever, just hang in there folks. I can almost see the credit crawl now!  They make it to the news station, where Meghan is greeted by her shitty writer-issued flamboyantly gay hairdresser and makeup team because I was REALLY worried they'd run out of stereotypes at this point.

She quickly get glammed up and delivers the top story, which just happens to be about a “hooker hoodlum” that's been terrorizing Los Angeles all day. She can't do it though, and you just know she's going to “go off script” and deliver some kind of crowning moment of vindication speech:

“Shall we dig a little deeper? Hooker Hoodlum... hmm. Hooker, yes. I woke up in a stranger's bed. A lovely, lovely stranger. And I had to endure a really weird, uh, very long walk of shame. Look at these feet! This is how much I walked, right here.

“BUT I AM NOT A HOOKER! Which I have said repeatedly all evening long. Also I'm not ashamed, I shouldn't have called it a walk of shame. Not ashamed! And I don't care what people think anymore because it is exhausting... so let's just let the shame lie with everyone who took one look at a girl in a- in a- in this, I mean this is not- I agree the most conservative outfit, but this should not automatically make me a pariah or-or prey and besides... the point is that everything I did I did because I was trying to get back here so that I could convince a few people that I am someone that I no longer am. I am not safe or perfect.”

Just hold onto everything that was right and yet totally wrong about that speech. Meghan does her wrap up, giving shout outs to her friends as well as Scrilla and his gang. As she leaves the building with Gordon, the CNB executives stop her and OF COURSE offer her the job because they were so inspired by her guts or whatever. Meghan tells them she'll think about it as her and Gordon go off to plan their day together.

Cue the credits, which I sat through the whole goddamn thing because I was REALLY expecting to have a stinger scene where Meghan finally gets resolution on the whole cat thing. But no, nothing.

SO. The speech at the end. It was perfect right? Summed up what judgmental assholes men and women are and how their assumptions can really wreck a “good girl”. We even had some touching uplifting music during it to really tug at your heartstrings!  What was wrong with it then? Have you ever seen a movie that spends its first 95% of screen time trying to be as funny, slapsticky, and gross as possible? Like pretty much every American Pie movie, zany rom-coms starring mismatched couples, or a film starring Adam Sandler, Dane Cook, or Ryan Reynolds? After enduring an entire film of flat out revolting behaviour, the film starts playing inspirational music as the “hero” does the right thing or confesses his love or stands up to the bad guys, whatever, just some sort of tacked-on sentimentality to trick people into thinking the movie was actually a touching story and thus more memorable?

Well here you go, I can't think of a more CLASSIC DEFINITION of tacked-on sentimentality than this piece of shit. Characters too dumb to live, check. Endless parade of lazy and racist stereotypes, check. Characters trying to take advantage of a woman for sexual favours (bonus points for one waving a gun around while doing so!), check. Disgusting and unwarranted sexism that DOES cross the borderline into misogyny, check AND check.

But don't worry everyone, we handwaved ALL of it away in the last two minutes because it was all to teach you a lesson not to judge! ...even though we never did anything to setup that ending at all, as there was never a single line of dialogue or reaction shot from Meghan trying to challenge the injustices she was going through, she just breezily pranced from one to the next in the name of “comedy”.  You can't have your cake and eat it too Steven Brill. Highest possible recommendation to AVOID this one, like it was a bloody syringe you found in a Walmart parking lot.