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Review: Entourage (2015)

Entourage (2015)

Directed by: Doug Ellin

Premise: A feature film addendum to the television show. Movie star turned filmmaker Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) is in the final stages of post-production of his directorial debut but financial troubles cause headaches for agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven).

What Works: The Entourage television show ran for eight seasons and it had a very dedicated audience. Viewers who were fans of the show will probably enjoy the movie. This picture comes four years after the series ended and the Entourage feature film offers a sampling of what was alluring about the show. Entourage is a male fantasy of Hollywood, a sort of Sex and the City for bros, and it has the money, the women, and the Hollywood parties, as well as the masculine camaraderie between a movie star and his friends that appealed to a specific audience. This film finds movie star Vincent Chase directing himself in a big budget feature but the production has run over budget, forcing studio head Ari Gold to appeal to an investor, a Texan businessman who assigns his son to investigate the movie. The son is played by former child actor Haley Joel Osment and he is quite good in this. Osment plays the part just right; his character is at once a spoiled rich kid and a redneck dilettante. That’s a unique combination of character traits and Osment pulls it off believably, giving the movie a credible antagonist whose meddling threatens the movie and Vince and Ari’s future.

What Doesn’t: The Entourage movie was made for its fan base. Veteran audiences will slip right in but newcomers won’t get much out of the movie and they may not pick up on the relationships between the characters or why certain moments are funny. That’s not necessarily a flaw— in ongoing material filmmakers can expect the audience to come in with a certain amount of foreknowledge—but it is indicative of one of the key problems of this movie. Entourage feels like a handful of episodes mashed together. It does not have the scale befitting a feature film nor does it take the characters and the story to a bigger and bolder level. A lot of the story of Entourage is a bunch of disconnected moments, with each of Vince’s buddies getting into sexual misadventures that have no narrative payoff. There are plenty of celebrity cameos but they aren’t used with any cleverness. In many respects this film is a missed opportunity. The Entourage movie is about the making of a studio tent pole feature; in that context the Entourage formula of show business drama and farcical comedy could have been spun into gold like Tropic Thunder. But instead the initial deal for Vince to direct is laid out in the pre-credit sequence and after that the story skips to post-production. Instead of dramatizing the difficulties of mounting a Hollywood tent pole release the filmmakers squander all of that to make a movie about editing and financing. This could still result in a compelling story if it sent up the particulars of marketing and opening a movie. But the Entourage film comes down to a petty conflict between three over indulged rich guys. That is the problem with the Entourage movie as well as the problem with the series. This is the story of a group of guy friends who are all horrible, narcissistic, and shallow people who have been insulated from their awfulness because of their vast wealth and privilege. If the moviemakers were self-conscious about that it would be excusable and possibly make for a great satire but it is frequently clear that the people behind Entourage have no perspective on this. They are as enraptured by the empty glamour of Hollywood as their characters and like its central cast the Entourage movie has a pretty terrible regard for women, viewing all of them as conquests and props or psychos and nags.

Bottom Line: Viewers who were already on board with the Entourage television show are going to watch this film and they’ll probably enjoy it. But the movie is a parade of male chauvinism that isn’t nearly as fun or as cool as it thinks it is.

Episode: #546 (June 14, 2015)