In a scene at the end of the new “Entourage” film someone has the idea of turning the exploits of actor Vincent Chase, his best friend and manager Eric Murphy, half brother Johnny Drama and pal Turtle into a movie. “Sounds more like a TV show,” cracks Ari, the hotshot agent who made Vincent a superstar.
You know what? He’s right. It worked better as a TV show than it does as a movie.
The movie picks up just after the TV show ended. Chase (Grenier) is newly divorced and looking for a new film project. His former agent Ari (Piven) is now a studio head and has the perfect project for him, an updated version of the “Jekyll and Hyde” story. There’s a twist though. Chase has developed the Hollywood disease known as “Directoromyelitis Syndrome.” He’ll only agree to star in the film if he can also direct. A deal is struck, but when Chase lets the budget get away from him Ari must try and wrangle $15 million more from the film’s conservative Texan finaciers, billionaire Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton) and his son Travis (Haley Joel Osment). If they can’t get the money to finish the film it could be the end of the line for Vinnie, Ari and the guys.
“Entourage” the movie feels like binge watching three or four episodes of the television show. No attempt has been made to make the movie more cinematic than the show or to deepen the characters or situations. Chase is still the carefree superstar who thinks he can start all over again by moving back to his old neighbourhood in Queens if everything goes sour. Turtle remains a romantic wannabe while Johnny Drama is wracked by insecurity and E quietly tries to keep everything from spinning out of control.
If the name “Arrested Development” hadn’t already been taken by another show it would have been the perfect title for this bunch, who are more interested in meeting women and when they’re not meeting women, then talking about women than they are in behaving like actual living, breathing people. Perhaps their insipid behaviour is a comment on the vapid Hollywood lifestyle or maybe it is just vapid. I think suggesting a movie that uses a line like, “when one vagina closes, another one opens,” of any grand, high-minded purpose is overstating things by a mile.
All the glitz and glam in the world—the movie is a tribute to lifestyle porn—can cover the emptiness of the story, and even filling up screen time with an extensive array of cameos—everyone from Kelsey Grammer and Pharrell Williams to Liam Neeson and Andrew Dice Clay pop up for one line gags—does little more than turn the film into a celebrity “Where’s Waldo” exercise.
There is a sense of familiarity that comes along with watching the “Entourage” movie, like seeing old friends you haven’t hung out with for a while, but you can’t help but think that the film-within-the-film is more interesting than the movie you’re actually watching.