Directed by Doug Ellin. Produced by Doug Ellin, Stephen Levinson, and Mark Wahlberg. Written by Doug Ellin. Release date: June 3, 2015.
Given that Entourage is based on a relatively popular television show – it did last eight seasons, after all – it comes as a slight surprise that it’s an absolutely abysmal movie. It’s not funny, it’s not charming, and its insight into the back-room dealings of Hollywood aren’t clever or even particularly insightful. Its characters are awful, annoying, and shallow, the plot is almost nonexistent, and the constant celebrity cameos do nothing but distract from what little plot there is.
Our story follows the primary characters from the show. The lead, if you can call him that, is Vincent (Adrian Grenier), a movie star who is allowed to make his directorial debut on a $100+ million film that soon enough winds up over-budget. The studio’s head, Ari (Jeremy Piven), has to try to secure $15 million from its primary financiers, Larsen (Billy Bob Thorton) and his son, Travis (Haley Joel Osment). Yes, that’s all there is to the primary plot; the stakes are so painfully low that you can’t even start to care. Meanwhile, Vincent’s friends – Eric (Kevin Connolly), Johnny (Kevin Dillon), and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) – get into their own little subplots, most of which paint them as awful people, but for some reason also demand that the audience cheers for them.
Some of these subplots involve the characters trying to begin romantic relationships – to put it in a PG manner – with celebrities. One of them falls for Ronda Rousey, playing herself, while another does the same with Emily Ratajkowski. Mostly, though, they wander around Hollywood, bump into various celebrities, make sexist, racist, sexist, homophobic, or sexist comments, and then the plot unfolds without them doing a whole lot. We get to spend another 90 minutes with characters from the show, and for someone like me, who never watched the show, that wasn’t an exciting prospect.
I suppose you either love these spoiled, selfish, shallow characters, or you don’t. How you can is beyond me, but then I didn’t watch them “grow” through 96 episode of the television series. At least, I presume that they grew, but given how there isn’t anything to the characters in the movie, that might be a stretch. We watch these guys treat people poorly, “bromance” it up for a while, and then hope everything works itself out. Some people are reactive, some people are proactive, and these guys are inactive – unless the prospect of sex is on the table, in which case they’ll lie their way into achieving that goal.
Entourage is the type of movie you hope ends almost the second it starts, and then it tortures you for the next hour and a half.
Part of the fun of Entourage, I’m told, is the behind-the-scenes and realistic nature of the series. All of the celebrity cameos and “how to make a movie” dealings were an attempt to make it feel like these characters were actually in Hollywood, and the vapid nature with which they present themselves was a byproduct of that. Or, so I assume. That might also be too intelligent of an analysis for Entourage. The problem here is two-fold: the film doesn’t present itself as smart enough to be showcasing itself as satire, and the only character that’s any fun is Ari, whose over-the-top nature makes his character feel as if he’s from a different universe, thus ruining that sense of realism.
About the only fun that I got from Entourage came from a couple of the celebrity cameos. Out of the 50 or so that are in the movie, only two amused me, and that only happened because the celebrities in question wound up going off on the lead characters, representing my own feelings in the process. But a couple of laughs in 90+ minutes is a pretty bad laughs-per-minute ratio, and when there’s nothing else to grasp onto, Entourage winds up being a far more boring and aggravating movie than I thought it could be. Doug Ellin, who (I’m obliged to mention) directed and co-wrote a film called Phat Beach a couple of decades ago, has made a horrible movie that I only hope is significantly worse than the television show.
Even the acting is terrible. I know this is what happens when you hire non-actors like Rousey or Ratajkowski, but the main cast is almost as bad. Kevin Dillon in particular is cringe-inducing. Adrian Grenier, Jerry Ferrara and Kevin Connolly are just boring. Jeremy Piven brings some life to his role, and he’s about the only character that’s at least slightly interesting. Billy Bob Thorton and Haley Joel Osment aren’t good here, either. Nobody is good. Nothing is good. Entourage is the type of movie you hope ends almost the second it starts, and then it tortures you for the next hour and a half.
If you need one thing to sum up Entourage, keep in mind that this is a movie that holds up the Golden Globe Awards as the pinnacle of awards shows. That pretty much shows you where its ambitions lie. Does it want to be a good movie? No. Does it want to impress 93 people, many of whom can be bought off with a trip to the set and a fake “insider” feeling? Now you’re getting it.
Bottom Line: Entourage is a torturous watch that replaced a plot and characters with celebrity cameos.
Recommendation: If you’re not on-board the Entourage train, this movie is not going to get you there. In fact, it’ll likely repulse you to the point of never giving the show a chance.[rating=1]