Director: Doug Ellin
Cast: Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven, Haley Joel Osment, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Perrey Reeves, Ronda Rousey, Rex Lee, Debi Mazar, Rhys Coiro, Constance Zimmer
MPAA Rating: (for pervasive language, strong sexual content, nudity and some drug use)
Running Time: 1:44
Release Date: 6/3/15
Review by Mark Dujsik | June 2, 2015
There is nothing wrong with the notion of static characters in a situational comedy. It's kind of expected, given the name. Because it was a sitcom at heart, we could forgive the fact that the characters of "Entourage" never changed over the course of eight seasons, no matter how many hardships they encountered that could have been avoided with just a little bit of soul searching or how many opportunities they had to do so. Even so, there was still something enjoyable—perhaps in a "guilty pleasure" sort of way—in the show's combination of male bonding and wish fulfillment through the lazy adventures of a group of guys who wanted to live out the alcohol-, drug-, money-, and women-fueled dream of Hollywood.
Entourage, the cinematic sequel to the television show, is essentially a full season of the show reduced to about 100 minutes. It's a bad idea for an assortment of reasons. First of all, the relative shortness of the thing means that we're constantly reminded of how little material there actually was to the show. It was once adroitly parodied in an online video in which we got the gist of the basic thrust of every season: problem, lucky solution, repeat. Here, the problem is that Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) has directed his first movie, and the financial backers from Texas aren't immediately willing to give him the millions of dollars necessary for him to finish the project to his complete satisfaction. This is a fine example of what the kids call a "first-world problem."
Secondly, this plot isn't particularly interesting, let alone involving. The most intriguing stuff apparently happens off-screen between the underwhelming ellipsis of a prologue (Vince is holding a party to celebrate his recent divorce and decides he wants to direct a movie) and the start of the plot proper—namely, the actual shooting of the movie.
In the eight months that have passed while the opening credits roll, Vince has shot his movie. Eric (Kevin Connolly) has separated from his on-again-off-again girlfriend Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), who happens to be pregnant. Vince's brother Johnny "Drama" (Kevin Dillon), by all accounts a terrible-to-mediocre actor, gave an award-worthy performance in his brother's directorial debut (The movie is informative in confirming that one award-giving body is for sale). Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), formerly Vince's driver, earned an unnamed but substantial amount of money by selling his tequila company. Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), Vince's former agent, is now an executive at the studio producing Vince's movie, and it's his job to convince the Texas money men (Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment) to invest more money in the movie.
By the by, if you haven't seen the television series in its entirety, none of this will make much sense. By another by, if you haven't seen the show, it's not worth the time to go through it for the sole purpose of seeing this movie, and this is coming from someone who has seen and, to a certain degree, enjoyed the show.
The screenplay by director Doug Ellin (who created the series) starts off with a whimper and pretty much maintains that momentum throughout. The dramatic arc of the plot mirrors a heart monitor that has flat-lined, and the characters' lack of growth and apparent determination to remain exactly as they are grow tedious quickly.
Eric, for example, becomes sexually involved with two women within a 24-hour period, despite his repeated assurances that he's "not that kind of guy" (After years and years of him having to make this statement after getting into similar situations, one would think he'd realize that he is, most assuredly, that kind of guy). Ellin stages a scene in which the two women confront and publicly humiliate Eric on account of his behavior, but to no one's surprise, he only sees the, as the kids call it, "teachable moment" as a chance to breathe a sigh of relief. Meanwhile, Turtle tries to woo professional fighter Ronda Rousey, and a guy releases a video of Drama masturbating as revenge for him getting involved with the guy's girlfriend.
The movie still has the show's feel of lazy adventuring, but it feels, well, lazy. It's almost impressive how many times characters simply stop in the middle of what they're doing to reiterate the plot (Yes, we know Vince needs the money; give us something new, already). There are plenty of party montages and 20 times as many cameos (They turn into a strange form of bragging: "Look, we nabbed these actors, those musicians, this and that athlete and, for some reason, Warren Buffett"). Entourage seems to exist simply because it can, and that degree of entitlement—more than anything we get from the characters—is downright repellant.
Copyright © 2015 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.
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