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2015-07-24 07:05

What it's about:

Picking up immediately after the end of the TV series of the same name, Vincent Chase and the boys are back for a new Hollywood adventure. As Vinnie turns his attentions towards directing a major new studio release for the studio that now has his former agent, Ari Gold, as its head, E is expecting a baby with his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Sloan, while Turtle desperately tries to woo a Mixed Martial Arts star and Johnny Drama continues to try and step out of his baby brother's shadow as a proper actor.  

What we thought:

Entourage is, at absolute best, strictly for fans of the series. Not because newcomers won't understand what's going on, mind you, because there really is very little to catch up with and what there is, is done very speedily in the first few moments through a sequence of typically naff Pierce Morgan interview segments with our main players. No, new audiences should understand the film just fine. What they probably won't get though, is how this shallow, laugh-free, stupid and morally iffy Hollywood product managed to support a series for the better part of a decade.

And, frankly, despite the fact that I've seen every single episode of the show (and even liked quite a few of them), I'm kind of with them.

It's not simply that the Entourage movie isn't as good as the better episodes in the show – though it certainly isn't – it's that the experience of watching what is basically an overly long episode, projected onto the big screen, shines a light on all the show's many, many problems, while minimizing almost all of its virtues.

First and foremost, the guys at the heart of the show, well, they're pretty damn awful. They're just about saved from being truly hateful by the fact that all of their misogyny, self-involvement and shallowness is rendered innocuous by their stupidity and lack of self-awareness but Vinnie and the boys are, at very best, dull as dishwater. The sheer knuckleheadedness of Johnny Drama does make him by far the most palatable of the group but even then, put him into one of the better American comedies out there and he would fare significantly less well.

Worse, if you're familiar with the show, you'll have seen most of these "character arcs" a bunch of times already but, hey, if you're really up for watching E and Sloan do the will-they-or-won't-they shtick for the seventh hundredth time, knock yourself out! Honestly, I like Emmanuelle Chriqui as much as every other hot-blooded straight male on the planet but, man, are her scenes with Kevin Connelly's E a drag...

The biggest problem though, is that the film (and, when you get right down to it, the show too) mostly wastes its basic premise and becomes the very thing that it really should be skewering. In effect, the basic idea behind the show is that it was about a tight-knit group of regular working class kids living the high life in Hollywood, but whose pre-fame bond would shine a satirical light on a culture where every man (or woman... but really, this is Entourage, and the women were never really much more than set dressing) is out only for themselves. No, Entourage was never meant to be a cutting indictment of the so-called "male fantasy" that is the Hollywood lifestyle but I don't think it was ever meant to give up the ghost quite to the extent that it ultimately did.

Between its copious amounts of T&A, unapologetic consumerism and more cameos per square second than probably any other movie in history, this is a film that has fallen so far under the spell of the (apparent) Hollywood lifestyle that is seems entirely unaware of just how ironic a choice it was to use the Who's Eminence Front to soundtrack its plastically sentimental and just plain idiotic "climax" at a Golden Globe Awards ceremony. Creator Doug Ellin presumably liked its groove but never bothered to listen to its really quite direct lyrics ("it's a put on!").

On more fundamental levels, Entourage is also a comedy that hopelessly fails to bring the required laughs, has next to no plot and it entirely unaware that the way it resolves Vinnie's actor-turned-director plotline flies not only in the face of on-screen physical evidence to the contrary but of basic storytelling (and joke-telling) 101.  

This is all especially annoying because in the character of Ari Gold (once again played with relish by the excellent Jeremy Piven) we do get a bit of everything that the rest of the film is missing. He is actually funny (again, not as funny as he was in the show at its best but still lightyears ahead of everyone else) and he is both a well developed, even sympathetic, human being – an egotistical ass on the surface, significantly more than that underneath – and the only male in the entire film whose relationship with a woman is not entirely artificial or one-sided. Also, in his stupefyingly mad interactions with studio heads and Texan money men, the film finally gets the satiric edge that it desperately lacks everywhere else, as well as something that actually resembles a plot driven by real conflict.

As such, thanks purely to Ari Gold and the sterling work done by Jeremy Piven, I can't quite write the film off entirely but it's impossible to shake the feeling that dumping everything else and just making a full-on Ari Gold movie would have been a far, far better idea.

Read more on:    entourage  |  movies

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