I’ve never watched an episode of the HBO series Entourage and am only tangentially aware of its existence through some sort of pop culture osmosis. After sitting through series-creator Doug Ellin’s film adaptation (or, perhaps, continuation) of his TV series, I can’t see myself diving into the show anytime soon. It’s a boorish look into the world of Hollywood, a movie that wants to be a satire of the Hollywood movie machine, with its glut franchises and sequels, without ever realizing that its own existence is much of what’s wrong with modern studios. Why is so much money being spent on a TV show that’s been off the air for four years? Why is this movie nothing more than a parade of celebrity cameos (seriously, this is 75 percent of the film)? Why does anyone care about the escapades of this group of testosterone-fueled chuckleheads?
The premise of the show — and thus the movie — follows A-list actor Vincent Chase (played by real life C-list actor Adrian Grenier) and his cadre of idiotic lifelong friends. We have his manager, Eric (Kevin Connolly), his half-brother and failed actor Drama (Kevin Dillon), and his driver-turned-vodka-magnate Turtle (Jerry Ferrara). Also thrown in here and there is Ari (Jeremy Piven), Vincent’s former agent-turned- (for reasons only the screenplay is truly aware of) studio head (of some studio conveniently never named). Ari’s first big decision is to turn over a $100 million passion project to Vincent, a movie that quickly goes over budget, but — we’re told — is some sort of masterpiece, even if the 30 seconds we see looks like warmed-over Wachowskis.
The film is mostly Ari trying to get the money to finish the film from a couple of Texans (Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment), while Vincent rides around with a supermodel and his schlubby friends discuss their nascent libidos. The idea is that Entourage is supposed to be a story of friends sticking together, but it’s incredibly phony. It’s incredibly easy to stick together when people are gifting you Cadillacs and you live in a mansion. While I have no doubt that people like this exist on this planet, I can’t imagine a solitary reason to want to spend time with a single one of them. They’re vapid men whose only concern is looking for sex and talking about sex. Constantly.
Worse, the movie indulges in this. Entourage is as much a fantasy film as, say, Mad Max: Fury Road (though I think the argument could be made that Mad Max, right now, is more in tune with the world). Here, these simpering doofs get whatever they want — women, money, success — with a minimum of work. The idea, I suppose, is that Entourage wants to indulge in some sort of feel-good machismo, where everything works out and everyone’s happy. But there’s no drama, no tension, no humor and nary a character to care about or root for. The whole enterprise — this sort of beer commercial-turned-feature-length-film — is right on the cusp of being offensive, but that would mean taking it seriously. That it’s flopped at the box office is only a small justice. Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexual content, nudity and some drug use.