I'm pretty partial with shakes because they really do not fill you up, and they can lead you to feel deprived rather quickly, causing a binge later.
Losing weight is ALL about calories in and calories out. That being said, yes meal replacement shakes WILL help you lose weight if at the end of the day, the calories that you expend are greater than what you have taken in.
Another downfall with shakes is that losing weight is really about a lifestyle change, so if you are not planning on drinking shakes as a meal replacement for the rest of your life, then I would strongly recommend you go a different way. Try planning your meals ahead of time to make sure that you are not going over your calorie allowance for the day, and that you are expending more calories than you are consuming.
Also, if you do decide to go with shakes, be very careful as to what the sugar content is. A lot of the time, these shakes are loaded with sugar, which causes the release of insulin (a hormone that causes your body to store anything in your bloodstream in your fat cells as quickly as possible when your blood glucose level is high)
I would recommend sticking to whole, natural foods. Not only will you be happier in the long run because you will actually be making a permanent change to your lifestyle (which is what keeps weight off in the long run, there is nothing worse than losing ten lbs only to gain it all back within a few months). There have also been a lot of studies regarding consuming liquid meals. They tend to digest more quickly, making you hungry much sooner, so you will actually end up eating more, or if you choose to ignore your hunger, you will feel starved.
I am a registered dietitian.