It is Best to Steer Clear of This ‘Entourage’

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CHICAGO – I actually did watch the HBO show this big-screen iteration is based on, and I looked back in surprise to find the show actually lasted for 8 years. That’s a long time for a show that peaked in season two, and petered out into irrelevance somewhere around season four or so.

“Entourage” the movie stubbornly offers the audiences who do show up exactly what they came for. It’s even structured like a TV episode, with a callback to the show’s opening credits. It’s back not because the creators have a great story to tell, or even because audiences wanted to hang out with the characters for a little longer.  

It seems especially like an ego stroking exercise to show off creators Doug Ellin and Mark Wahlberg’s bulging celebrity contact list.  While every “Entourage” episode has indulged in gratuitous celebrity cameos, the ones here are of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them variety. And they’re used to depressingly little effect – Wahlberg spends his own cameo screen time plugging other projects, and Liam Neeson wears a sneer of embarrassment. If you’re going to rope in Warren Buffett and Pharrell, at least give them something to do.    

Entourage
The ‘Boys’ are Back in ‘Entourage’
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

The action picks up just days after the events of the series finale, and before you can say bromance, it hits the reset button. Vince (Adrian Grenier) is back to being a vacuous movie star who’s just going through the motions with a minimum of effort, and Ari (Jeremy Piven) is back screaming obscenities into a cell phone. Now, Ari is a newly minted studio head, and he puts Vince in his next movie. But for the sake of some artificial tension, and the film’s wafer-thin wisp of a plot, Vince wants to direct.

We never see Vince do much directing, although he appears to know how to hold a script. The film is a “Jekyll and Hyde” story about a DJ with a dark side. The footage we see looks uniformly silly and awful of the boring overblown blockbuster variety. It looks closer to a “Pluto Nash”-type disaster than a four-quadrant hit, and certainly nothing to stake your reputation or a studio on. And Vince, being the auteur, needs more money to finish.

So Ari is forced to try to get a Texas oilman (Billy Bob Thornton) and his half-wit son (Haley Joel Osment) to cough up more money. In addition to the banter among the boys locked in a state of perpetual adolescence, the show actually did its studio politics plot lines pretty well. But this time it’s neither smart, nor interesting – it’s an excuse for Piven to wear a mask of contempt while screaming insults about Texas and the rest of flyover country behind his money man’s back.

Adrien Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Haley Joel Osment
Adrien Grenier, Kevin Connolly and Haley Joel Osment in ‘Entourage’
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

As for the rest of the entourage, E. (Kevin Connolly) is about to become a father. He’s no longer the nice guy in the bunch, instead he’s a total cad who’ll now sleep with anything that moves. While the act of eternal D-lister Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) wore thin about 9 years ago, it’s downright threadbare now. And finally, the less said about Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), the better.      

We’ve seen all these characters do these same things countless times before, and much better. So why spend the equivalent of 6 months of HBO for what is essentially a supersized middle-to-subpar episode of a series that was never that great to begin with?    

“Entourage” opens everywhere on June 3rd. Featuring Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly. Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Dillon, Jeremy Piven, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment. Screenplay written and directed by Doug Ellin. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters

By SPIKE WALTERS
Contributor
HollywoodChicago.com
spike@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2015 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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