HBO’s long-running Hollywood-set comedy Entourage came to a fairy ignoble end in 2012 after eight seasons of mostly breezily entertaining guy-centric wish-fulfilment comedy.
Entourage (15) Directed by: Doug Ellin
Starring: Jeremy Piven, Adrien Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferarra * *
Built around the privileged travails of on-the-rise movie star Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier) and his close-knit band of East Coast childhood pals – best friend and manager Eric ‘E’ Murphy (Kevin Connolly), driver Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Vince’s somewhat tragically deluded older brother and fellow actor Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) – the show was loosely based on executive producer Mark Wahlberg’s early years in Hollywood. Wahlberg was a frequent guest on the show and pops up in this movie too, but in its earliest seasons resembled a small-screen version of Swingers. As it wore on, though, the everything-always-works-out arc of the show began to grate and, as the final series bowed out with marriages, babies, grand romantic gestures and obscene materialism, it was hard to deny the niggling criticism over the years that it was really just Sex in the City for guys. Even Jeremy Piven’s once-great super-agent Ari Gold had been largely neutered by the end, leaving Hollywood for Italy in an effort to rescue his marriage to his über-rich wife. This big-screen transfer picks up a few days after the end of the show and quickly reverses everything but the Sex and the City vibe. The plot revolves around Vince’s insistence on directing a terrible-looking $100m-plus blockbuster that’s running into production trouble as it nears completion. As the new head of the studio that has given him this opportunity, Ari naturally finds his job on the line as a result. As for the rest, E is contending with imminent fatherhood, Turtle is trying to date a cage fighter and Drama, poor dumb Drama, is counting on Vince’s movie giving him the big break he’s been chasing all these years. The stakes aren’t all that high in other words and all the supposed Hollywood insider stuff lacks the bite it occasionally had in the show. The big screen also cruelly exposes the one thing the show was able to hide year after year: Grenier just isn’t a movie star. This becomes more evident each time an actual movie star like Wahlberg pops up.
On the plus side, there is a little more time for Piven to unleash more underling-shredding invective and there’s an entertainingly obnoxious supporting turn from Haley Joel Osment as the son of a Hollywood financier (Billy Bob Thornton) who takes against Vince. But this is mostly pretty indulgent stuff.