by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)
Ahh, bro-comedy; that form of with lower than sarcasm that seems to divide people completely down the middle. You either love or hate shows like Entourage, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that’s just said “meh, I don’t mind it” and have no real feelings on it either way. Me? I love it. For me, Entourage did exactly what it said on the tin and offered a silly comedy show that was, for all intents and purposes, the guys version of HBO’s other stupid comedy show, Sex and the City. And in a world where that abhorrent garbage gets a film adaptation, and a bloody awful sequel by all accounts, it seems only inevitable that Entourage will follow suit.
Following on directly from the last scene of the show’s eighth and final season, Entourage : The Movie throws us straight in where the TV show left off. We meet Vince (Adrian Grenier), a pretty-boy movie star, right after his marriage, that lasted nine days, has ended. Quickly joined by his friends on a massive yacht in Ibiza (an island who’s name no one seems to be able to pronounce) partying, as he always is and celebrating the end of his marriage by filling this massive boat up with girls. As we all would, I suppose? Jumping straight back into work with freshly un-retired super agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) who is now running a studio and has a job for Vince. Telling Ari that his next starring role needs to also be his directorial debut, the boys set off on their next big adventure, Vincent Chase’s “Hyde”, a Jekyll & Hyde retelling that, from what we see, looks like a sci-fi blend of The Matrix and Daybreakers. I’d certainly hand over money to watch it if it was real.
Jump forward eight months and this is where the bulk of our film happens. Eric “E” Murphy (Kevin Connolly)’ Vincent’s closet friend and manager is waiting for his long-time not quite a girlfriend Sloane to give birth to their first child; Turtle, Vinny’s former driver and now tequila mogul and multi-millionaire is living the high life. Independently rich and still hanging with his friends because he can; and Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillon) is still hanging his hopes on every job being the big one he needs to break into the big time. Johnny’s doing ok though, he’s got a big part in Vince’s new film and, as we always do, we all think this will be the one.
But here’s the rub. Vincent’s super sized blockbuster movie is having a few accountancy issues. It’s $15 million over the agreed upon budget and needs just a little more. Photography is done, it’s in its final editing phase and Vinny needs a handout from their wealthy financiers to get it finished. So now it’s Ari’s job, as it always was, to save his star’s arse and get the film that could ruin everyone attached to it if it flops, finished and in the can. Standing in his way, are the money men, wealthy investor Billy Bob Thornton and his son, played by Haley Joel Osmont.
These are the guys that have invested in the studio and its movies and they are keeping those purse strings tied until they’ve seen the first cut of the film and taking a note or two from his directorial inspiration, Billy Walsh, Vincent isn’t letting anyone see it until it’s perfect. With a promise of a screening, Thornton sends his son to Los Angeles to meet with the film’s director and star and work out a mutually agreeable fix for the company’s budgetary issues, Haley Joel Osmont, who spend his first scene wearing a pistol on his hip trying to convey a little bit of an edge. But instead, he looks like an overgrown man-child who is out without his special helmet and running around with a toy gun and handcuff set on, is the man in control of whether or not the film gets the extra capital it needs and unfortunately, after a screening, has a few notes that he wants actioned before he’ll write a new cheque. Not least of all, he wants Drama’s supporting character cut and possibly recast before any money changes hands. And so begins the longest and most challenging part of Vincent’s career to date.
So here’s the thing with Entourage: The Movie, it has a very, very specific audience. Fans of the TV show. Writer/director/show creator Doug Ellin does an amazing job of explaining eight years of the HBO show in an exposé episode with Piers Morgan just after the titles roll that details all the important bits you need to know. Essentially it’s my Beginner’s Guide, in video form, presented by a douchebag! I have to say, I was impressed. I’ve read interviews with Ellin that state that you don’t need to be a fan or have ever seen an episode to watch the film and was curious as to how he could pull it off. Now I don’t necessarily agree that you can go in blank and enjoy the film as much as I did, but he did do a pretty damn good job in that respect. But when all is said and done, it’s a film for those of us that loved the show. The same way Sex and the City was a pointless venture if you en’t a fan of the show, or at least knew a little bit about it, I would absolutely put Entourage into that category.
Now don’t get me wrong, the film is far from perfect and it has its fair share of issues and I would certainly argue that its “star” is one of them. Vincent Chase is about as likeable as an Ebola riddled monkey with the personality of a chewed tennis ball. Everything he does irks me. Whether it be the show or the film, his presence in this business that we all adore makes me want to punch him square in the face. Now I know he’s like that for a reason, I do. It’s clear his character is supposed to be a blank but pretty face to symbolise all those pretty boys that really do hump their way across Hollywood without any kind of comeuppance. No angry husbands, no random unwanted kids and no dick withering diseases and all of us wishing that we could be so lucky. But it doesn’t make his annoying traits any easier to swallow when he acts like the giant spoiled kid he is.
But for me, the film’s biggest problem lies in the fact that it’s a film. Not that it was made, I wanted it made. But that it is a feature length film. I think this film would have been much better served as Entourage – Season 9. It’s the perfect length for it and has essentially covered all the bases a season of the show covered. This could have easily played out as a comeback season (think 24: Live Another Day) and maybe led into a bit of a return for the show. I mean, season one was eight 25 minute episodes, minus titles and credits and you can do the whole season in less than three hours. And that brisk story run through is what we get with the film, but it really didn’t need the big screen.
A TV outing would have meant that I didn’t come out feeling like the celebrity appearances had been forced down my throat. And I’m a fan, I know which of those guys were regulars. God knows how people that haven’t seen the show are going to take it. Although, a few of the cameos did make me grin. Famous for his party attitude, New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski’s turn was hilarious and the brilliance of him being at the same party as Super Bowl rival Russell Wilson was nothing short of amazing from the point of an NFL fan. But some series regulars like Scott Caan and Gary Cole are notable by their absence and the film could certainly have been improved if it focussed a little less on the constant barrage of cameos. Moreover, this is the second bloody film I’ve seen this year with Ronda Rousey in it, trying to act. Please, stop casting her to act. Rousey is a world class fighter and I have nothing but respect for her, but as an actress, she’s got the same acting chops as a monkey with a jar of peanut butter. Sorry Ronda, this career ain’t for you.
Entourage has been dividing audiences for years. Famously battered a few times by Tina Fey and her 30 Rock crew for being by douchebags, about douchebags, for douchebags and unfortunately it’s a subject matter and style of show that just pisses people off. I know I keep coming back to it, but when Sex and the City did the exact same thing in New York, it was lauded as an empowering feminist show and everyone should be taking note. But Entourage and its movie bring out the complete opposite views. People refuse to see it is the dumb bro-comedy that it is and in certain cold and lonely corners of the internet, to be the creator, a star of, or even a fan of the show is to be called a woman hating misogynist with no self respect. It’s a show, and a film, about lads just being lads, there’s nothing wrong with that. (For balance, both me AND my wife are fans of Entourage, with us both binging the show a couple of times a year)
The bottom line? Don’t watch the film if you’re not a fan. Why would you? If you don’t know anything about the show, you can easily enjoy the film if you go in realising that it’s not to be taken seriously. It’s self satirising silliness to be lapped up and enjoyed for what it is. If, however, you are a fan of the show, you don’t need me to tell you to watch it. You know what you’re walking in to and if you loved the show like I did, you’ll enjoy the film. There’s no debate to be had, it’s a film for the fans and in that respect, it delivers everything I wanted. For those that want to drag us across the coals for being fans of Entourage; please feel free to toss off, you rancid fuckbags!