Friday, September 18, 2015

Movie review - "Entourage" (2015) **

The not-eagerly-awaited film version of the TV show plays out a lot like an episode from the later dud series: one or two moments but basically underwhelming, with seemingly little understanding about why the series was a success, despite being under the stewardship of creator Doug Ellin.... which leads one to surmise that the behind the scenes X factor must have been Rob Weiss. It was Weiss who was heavily involved with the strong first couple of seasons before heading off for other pastures, after which the show went downhill - he's credited with helping on the story for this film, but the blame has to lie with Ellin.

Like the later seasons, unlike the first, it's very easy being a movie star in Entourage - money just gets thrown at Vinnie Chase and he never lacks adoring women or fans. The "challenge" here is him turning director, but so there's no stress the film skips over that, and deals with post production - he needs another $30 million or so to finish it, and head of studio Ari Gold needs to get it from financier Billy Bob Thornton. Thornton sends his idiotic son Hayley Joel Osmet to Hollywood to supervise - the best thing about the film, but even that's undercooked.

Under-developed subplots abound - E's character has totally changed: instead of being the monogamous old fashioned guy who was devoted to Sloan, he's separated from her even though she's pregnant with his baby and is having random sex with hot women who can't act; there's a terrible scene where two of them meet up and turn out to have known each other that has no impact on the plot. Turtle is now so rich he doesn't have to work (the invoke the terrible tequila story several times); he has an OK romance with a fighting champ girl but it doesn't have any interesting developments/complications. Lloyd is getting married though we never really get to know his fiancee; there's a nice moment where he asks Ari to give him away but nothing much is done with that. Mrs Ari whinges a lot yet again despite their happy ending at the end of the series. Drama is always fun though again I wish more could have been done about his storyline. Vinnie just sort of glides through the film never seeming to care that much about his movie - he's never convincing for five seconds as a director; we get no sense of the passion that say drove Kevin Costner and Mel Gibson to make their films.

Entourage had a tentative relationship with reality which this throws out the window - Vinnie wanting to direct; not wanting to show anyone his film. Even small things ring false like the two hookers in Osmet's room when Ari storms in - there was opportunity for comedy/poignancy there, or at least some sort of reality (they could complain, ask Ari to join, offer up a head shot to Ari) but they just keep doing their thing.

Many cameos including lots from American sports I didnt recognise. Some of the funnier ones included Liam Neeson at the traffic lights, Kelsey Grammar walking out of therapy. A lot of other ones seem random and kind of pointless like Arnie Hammer.

The actors are mostly lethargic except for Jeremy Piven, who is always good. A lot of the male leads seem to have had plastic surgery and/or hair transplants. There's lots of product placement, few good gags, some impressive photography and groupings of extras and I liked the credit sequence. There's no decent drama or character work.

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