Director: Doug Ellin
Starring: Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Billy Bob Thornton
Written by; (also story and television series created) Doug Ellin and (story) Rob Weiss
Running Time: 104 mins
Release date: 19th June 2015
I went into Entourage a complete virgin. Having never seen the HBO TV show, I didn’t have a clue about what it was about, who these characters were and even what type of show it was. That was fine, though, because it seemed to me that they were welcoming newcomers with open arms and within minutes, I knew exactly what this was. A male version of Sex And The City, except set in the movie industry. I was never a fan of SATC and I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like this. I was kind of right.
Vince Chase is a big time movie actor, surrounded by his entourage, made up of his half-brother, Drama, and his two childhood buddies, Eric (or E) and Turtle. His former agent, Avi Gold is now a studio head and offers Vince the chance to star in a new adaptation of Jekyll and Hyde. Only Vince wants to direct as well. With a budget that is spiralling out of control and the financiers a Texan business man and his son, Gold has to believe that Vince isn’t going to mess things up.
It becomes pretty clear from the outset that this is a satire on the Hollywood film industry that doesn’t have the bite or intelligence of Robert Altman’s excellent The Player. Instead, it’s an opportunity for grown men to be surrounded by naked women performing all kinds of sexual acts, as if they were pre-pubescent teenagers. Having not met these characters before, it also becomes pretty apparent that Vince has no personality whatsoever, Eric is sweet and manages to get all the women, Turtle has no apparent traits to make him even remotely interesting. Leaving Drama, a loud-mouth, obnoxious teen-man and the most exciting thing about the group.
So we have this half-hearted tale of a film that no one is allowed to see, needing more money and head honcho Avi Gold having to go on bended knee, only to be manipulated by a young man batting way out of his league. This would have been half as interesting a film if the Entourage of the title didn’t keep interfering with their woeful running around after women, while Vince gets all moody, as all Hollywood actors do.
Then there’s the humour itself. This just isn’t funny enough to merit it being called a comedy. In fact, if it wasn’t for Drama and Avi, this could have been more like a second-rate soap opera. The jokes weren’t even infantile enough to be called puerile.
Because it’s set in Hollywood, we get the cameos. Unlike The Player, in which the guest appearances seem impressive, the “stars” on show here are less exciting. The occasional one, Liam Neeson, Kesley Grammar (in one of the film’s better gags as he is leaving a counselling service) and Mark Walhberg (who is also the producer) are fine but the rest are either has-been or never made it further than the States and certainly don’t seem to have any International appeal.
As said either, the characters are not exciting or interesting enough to grab any real attention. Adrian Grenier as Vince seems an okay guy but where’s that charisma? Kevin Connolly doesn’t do much and yet women seem to throw themselves at him, while Jerry Ferrara as Turtle might as well not be there at all. Billy Bob Thornton pops up as the financier but is only in two scenes, while Haley Joel Osmont (yes, the little boy from The Sixth Sense) has grown up as Thornton’s son and has fun playing a slimey man whose whole business attribute hinges on wanting one woman.
Thankfully, we have Kevin Dillon as Drama, who comes in with enough energy for the four leads, gets some of the better lines and frankly, even though there’s a whiff of misogynist about his character, he is at least more rounded and complete. The star, however, has to be Jeremy Pivan as Avi Gold. I would have rather watched a whole film about him then get interrupted by the other four. Sharp, sassy and massively scene stealing, it would have been great fun to watch him schmooze among the A-listers than trying to deal with Vince and gang. Pivan is a skilled comic actor and he relishes it here and if it wasn’t for him and Dillon, this would have been a disaster.
Entourage could have been funny, intelligent and insightful. Instead it plays for the lowest common denominator and it’s attitude to women is very low. Would I be interested in watching the TV series now? Absolutely not. Would I recommend this film? Maybe to fans but to the rest of the human race, my advice is to get a copy of The Player. It captures Hollywood so much better. And anyway, any film that has Piers Morgan in, you may want to avoid.