Alex Reviews Entourage - A Roll Call Of Cool But Meaningless Cameos

Only for fans of the show (and maybe not even them).

Rating: ˜…˜… I€™m going to be honest here - I€™ve never seen a single episode of Entourage. I knew nothing about the show beyond its Beverly Hills setting and couldn't distinguish the chiseled "average" guys from Drama. But while that means I went big screen sequel to the HBO series blind (I considered watching a series recap on YouTube, but only got as far as the Honest Trailer), it doesn't really matter. You shouldn't need to have seen a TV series to appreciate a movie based on said show. They aren€™t post-finale specials aired on the same network aimed at a clear, already won over audience - they€™re big, theatrical features with a wide release that need more than even casual fans to break even. It should work by itself, so, if anything, not seeing the series allows for a more rounded assessment of the film as, well, a film. So, what€™s the outcome of this little experiment? Well, not great. Although maybe Entourage is a bad example for this, because I doubt even if you adored the antics of Vince, E, Drama and Turtle you€™d actually get much out of this beyond the occasional twang of nostalgia. The film does do a good job of getting LA newcomers up to speed with a well-produced news piece. There we learn everything we need to know about the main quartet, agent-cum-studio head Ari Gold and the current situation they€™re in with a vastly over-budget, grungey sci-fi take on Jekyll And Hyde. It is presented by Piers Morgan, a plus for authenticity if a major minus for being able to avoid Piers Morgan, but, as an in-world way to set up the film€™s story, it's solid. After that though? It blows it. The film's got everyone on the same page, but doesn't ever give you a reason to invest in any of the characters. It€™s a just barrage of subplots that punctuate the gangs€™ parties/breakfasts/car rides, selling a rather empty dream that amounts to having a party on a Tuesday afternoon. No character ventures far outside of their macho shell and you never buy any of their motivations. At times it looks like things are going to go deeper - E claims to be a "nice guy" while confronting the two girls he slept with in the past 24 hours; Ari moans about an ego problem - but they never come together into a clear point. If it€™s meant to be a window into €œbro culture€, as the show is so often described, it never really goes beyond a fumbling recreation.
Neither is it a proper satire of life in Hollywood. The studio mechanics at work here are as basic as what you€™d find in a Producer FAQ and about as believable as James Cameron actually making Aquaman. The production of Vince€™s film, with financier issues and a delayed edit, all come across too idealised and are tired up far too neatly, as if Doug Ellin was overly eager to give the gang a happy ever after than for them to earn it (at least within the confines of the film). It€™s shallow and unbelievable. Although not as unbelievable as all the guest stars. Oh the cameos. You feel almost half the point of making the film was just so a select chunk of Hollywood€™s best and most photographed could turn up to utter a line and drive off with their no doubt hefty paycheck. The idea behind it is a solid one - make the film€™s version of LA feel authentic by populating it with real people. Yet, it never feels genuine. The actual stars are signposted a mile away, which negates any of the surprsie factor of their appearance, and the extended cameos from the likes of Ronda Rousey are there just because they need to be, never going anywhere despite waylaying some of the main characters (and in Rousey€™s case not getting any actual resolution). Odder still is that Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osmont pop up as the big money men behind Vince€™s film, essentially the major obstacle in the narrative. They€™re both fine in the roles, but in a film where they could have turned up as themselves it€™s needlessly distracting. Ultimately, the lack of weight and exploration of the characters is a big stickler for me, and I can't see it sitting too well with fans who invested eight years in them. At least the film does throw them a bone in the credits, with an overly-long scene featuring appearances from key characters and alluded payoffs of long-running threads. If you€™re not a fan it€™s a bit over your head, but, like Paul Walker€™s tribute at the end of Furious 7, you can at least appreciate how it means something to some people. Well, until the films jumps the shark and does the classic €œcharacters in a movie talk about making the movie they€™re in€ schtick and you€™re brought back to Earth; Entourage is a movie that€™s having a ball by itself and doesn€™t really care if you do or not. Have you seen Entourage? What did you think of it? Agree with this review? Share any thoughts down in the comments.
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Film Editor (2014-2016). Loves The Usual Suspects. Hates Transformers 2. Everything else lies somewhere in the middle. Once met the Chuckle Brothers.