Tuesday, June 2, 2015


In its eight seasons on the air, Entourage went from a relatively small HBO series about the inner workings of Hollywood to the go-to bastion of bro culture. Its surface-level elements — the cars, the women, the gay jokes — have overtaken any relic of what the show may have once tried to be, and creator/showrunner Doug Ellin didn't do much to change that perception. The result is a property that carries a lot of baggage with it, and a dividing line has been drawn. Love it or hate it, Entourage is back — and it's the same as it always was. This is not a complicated adaptation: if you loved the show, you'll love the movie. It's a feature-length episode of the show, complete with all of the baggage that entails.

Writer/Director: Doug Ellin
Starring: Adrian Grenier, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Dillon

This is not a good film. It exhibits all the worst qualities of the show, including a propensity for everything to work out in the end despite characters making mistakes along the way. Consequences be damned, Entourage says, because if you're a rich white dude in Hollywood, of course everything is going to go your way. I suspect this is a large part of why the show was so successful: dudes want to live vicariously through these characters, because they almost never have to deal with the repercussions of their actions in any meaningful way.

The film opens with a yacht party for movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), who is celebrating the divorce that happened between his engagement in the show's series finale and now. The movie instantly wipes away any sense of closure the show presented, simultaneously giving a giant middle finger to the audience ("You watched eight seasons of this show and thought it meant something? Haha, screw you!") and giving some of the audience — probably, depressingly, most of them — precisely what they want to see ("You watched eight seasons of this show? Hold up, let me give this story a clean slate so we can do exactly the same things that happened in the show you loved!"). Eric (Kevin Connolly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), and Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) are all up to their same old schtick, and super-agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) has decided not to retire after all, taking the studio head job offer that was on the table last time we saw him.

Vince decides he wants to direct his next project, so Ari gives him the greenlight for a $100 million reimagining of Jekyll and Hyde in which Vince plays the classic character as a conflicted futuristic DJ who leads a revolt against the police. (Yes, it's as idiotic as it sounds.) But they go over budget, and the whole conflict of the film is about whether or not Ari will be able to convince some Texas financiers (played by Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment, the latter doing an atrocious accent) to pony up extra cash to let them finish the movie. Meanwhile all of the sexism and bro humor you remember from the show is on full display, and practically any time a woman speaks on camera, the results are embarrassing.

(Spoilers ahead in this paragraph only.) The most despicable example of the film's "consequences don't matter" mantra is a scene in which E, despondent after sleeping with two women in one day and discovering that one is pregnant and the other passed him an STD, discovers that the girls actually know each other and made up the stories to try to teach him a lesson. Does he learn that lesson? Who cares! She's not pregnant, and he doesn't have an STD! Game on, bros!

But despite all of the awfulness at this film's core, as someone who watched every episode of the show, I can't deny that I felt the tiniest twinge of satisfaction at seeing these characters interact with each other again. It's the earnestness that did it, I think, even though these guys are being earnest about the worst things. There's one scene in which Vince gives a rousing speech to his crew about how they should be able to screw any woman they want — a pigheaded, completely wrong notion, but delivered in such a way that almost (almost) makes me respect how brazenly Doug Ellin just doesn't give a sh*t about having his characters operate in our current culture. This is a fantasy world, pure and simple, and these guys don't ever have to worry about anything.

The best thing about Entourage is its opening credits sequence, a slick update on the show's concept of whipping around Los Angeles and incorporating names onto recognizable landmarks. But it's sad when the funniest thing about this whole movie (which is supposedly a comedy) was seeing the words "and Jeremy Piven" pop up and laughing about a joke from Arrested Development's fourth season.

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