June 2, 2015

CINEMA | You Kidding? I Am 'Entourage'

Entourage Movie

Entourage the movie recreates all the often criticized and glossy elements of the HBO television show without any of the watchable charm and amusing reverence for its characters. What was originally a small, somewhat edgy, and rather lo-fi look at the life of a burgeoning movie star's career with his hometown buddies alongside for the ride, inspired by producer Mark Wahlberg's own experiences, Entourage became a showcase for the hollow excess, glitz, and glamour of the Hollywood lifestyle. The film pretty much picks up the reigns from there.

The film, written and directed by series creator Doug Ellin, grew in popularity before our current social media age and it's painfully obvious. Its age and (lack of) relevance shows as the film takes off right after the series finale and never evolves past the show. Entourage fails to grow or meet its characters and stories properly. The very beginning of the film essentially and purposely regresses many characters to make them single again, less secure, and put them exactly where they were for most of the TV show's run. The film also continues the frustrating habit of undoing and redoing an endless amount of repetitive plot or story points returning to a status quo while lengthening its improbable run.

One of the more problematic narrative aspects of the film, aside from overemphasizing the plot, are clips by Piers Morgan who sums up the entire premise of the show and film. It's useless and only heightens how ridiculous it is to focus on the very bare story and premise where the show's main appeal were its antics. Even all the fan elements, non sequitur cameos, gratuitous sex, throwaway female characters, casual misogyny, and other trademarks fall even flatter than the show's later seasons. Ellin labours to bring back every possible callback and include characters who have long since failed to serve any purpose aside from reminding us they were once on the show (except for a notably absent Scott Caan).

Everything in the film is beyond impossible to buy at this point. The Hollywood established within the show and film is so far removed from any kind of believable reality and is only made worse by numerous real-life references and celebrity characters. Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven, and pretty much anyone else even loosely associated with the show return to material they've clearly outgrown and moved past. There's only so much conflict and tension around whether or not Vince is going to be okay.

Entourage is neither the slick Hollywood satire it occasionally flirted with being, nor the celebration of the industry it more often was, but only a hyper indulgent male fantasy wrapped in celebrity culture. More unfortunately, no one seems to be having any fun as our boys, Eric, Vincent, Johnny, and Turtle, move aimlessly about and exist purely to serve plot elements and comedic gags without getting into any sense of friendship the show explored during its brighter days.


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