Demolishing Entourage seemed to be all the rage a couple of months ago (especially when tearing it apart briefly became an art form), and I have to agree with all of the criticism I’ve personally seen or heard, while noting that it’s disappointing to see an occasionally-entertaining TV show go out on such a low. The truth is the long-running series – which followed the exploits of heartthrob actor Vinny Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his close circle of friends in Los Angeles – jumped the shark after a couple of years and the writers gradually either lost the ability or the will to satirise Entourage‘s Hollywood setting, while far too much time and money was wasted going through the motions with rehashed season-long plots and increasingly-weak celebrity cameos. Four of the five principal characters started off as a bunch of east coast chancers who couldn’t believe their luck and were staring agog at the shallow glitz and glamour in front of them, as if they were tourists; it was easier to identify with them at this point, before the writers completely turned Vinny et al into entitled douchebags who were comfortable amid all the excess.
After eight years on the small screen the transition to cinema was inevitable, especially given that the show in question was about the movie industry, but as with most big screen spin-offs audiences have merely been presented with 25 minutes’ worth of plot that simply cannot fill a feature length hour-and-a-half. And what a dreary plot it is: Chase and his buddies (Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara and Kevin Connolly) each have their own sex-based concern here, but most of the story rests on whether Vinny’s directorial debut is any good or not, and whether a pair of concerned Texan investors, played by Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment, can be placated. Vinny’s film is a huge success, of course, and he does placate them, because writer / director / producer / creator / omnipotent force Doug Ellin seems to see Hollywood as a place where a bro’s vacuous teenage dreams of convertible cars, mansions and sun-kissed pool parties can and will come true, as opposed to it being a machine that fucks up people’s lives). So the film amounts to little more than 90 minutes of unchecked misognyny, homophobia, unreconstructed laddish banter, puerile sex gags and drooling mini-adverts for shiny cars, the assumption being that all audience members will think that this behaviour is wonderful and that this lifestyle is desirable, while the procession of smug, familiar faces appearing for cameos may even make you physically sick (like when you ate that third slice of chocolate cake last Tuesday). The celebs were often awkwardly shoehorned-in to the 25-minute TV episodes, but trying to work 50 into a film screenplay is absolutely ridiculous, and you have to question the dignity of all who chose to appear. At least the show never stooped so low as giving the likes of Piers Morgan extra unnecessary exposure: though his first appearance in this film could just about be forgiven come the revolution, allowing Morgan two chews of the acting cherry is simply unforgivable.
Even Entourage‘s most memorable and celebrated character – Jeremy Piven’s hyper-obnoxious agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold – has understandably lost most of his early bite, while those played by others (Debi Mazar, Constance Zimmer, Rex Lee, Perrey Reeves, Rhys Coiro, Emmanuelle Chriqui) are wheeled out here for existing fans and, in most cases, swiftly dispensed with (thereby presumably leaving newcomers who see the film completely perplexed as to who they are). The actresses in that short list above were given fairly prominent recurring roles in the TV show and played women who gave as good as they got, repeatedly cutting the boys of Entourage down to size in the early seasons, but they’ve been sidelined here in favour of an endless parade of objectified, slim, bikini-clad party girls – all of whom are seemingly unattached – who are only in the film so that one of the four main men can sleep with them or to make it even tawdrier and glossier by waving their breasts or backsides in the general direction of the camera. The Entourage story started with some promise all those years ago, but it has ended on a sour note. What a piece of shit.
Directed by: Doug Ellin.
Written by: Doug Ellin.
Starring: Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connelly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven.
Cinematography: Steven Fierberg.
Editing: Jeff Groth.
Running Time: 104 minutes.