Lasting eight seasons, some 96 episodes, and on the oft-ruthless HBO no less, Entourage will be regarded as one of the most successful shows in television history. Following the life of actor Vincent Chase (Grenier) as he scaled the Hollywood ladder, the show wasn’t adverse to glitz and glamour in Tinseltown (read: sex and parties) but always circled back to Chase’s best friends and their camaraderie.
The film picks up right where the show left off, only Chase has called off his marriage just nine days into the honeymoon and agent Ari Gold (Piven) has abandoned retirement to take up a role at the head of a studio. Gold wants Vincent to star in his first picture, but he’ll only do it if he gets to direct and cast his brother, Johnny ‘Drama’ (Dillon), in a crucial role. Gold reluctantly accepts, and the entourage head back to California to do it all over again.
Entourage, the movie, plays out much like an extended episode from the TV show, the characters each getting into spots of bother with dead-end plots keeping them busy while Vincent trundles on. But the five-way bromance here is largely sidelined, with the narrative only interested in each character chasing girls.
There is a worrying trend in Hollywood, that if you treat the subject matter as light-hearted, throwaway fun, you can get away with anything (see: Fast & Furious 7). But the gender-politics here are a real issue. Self-styled as being every man’s dream, the film fails to treat a single female character with respect. At one point, E (Connolly) sleeps with two women on the same day – both friends with each other – but it’s simply played off as a massive joke. Hell, Vince and the son of an investor fighting for Emily Ratajkowski’s attention is one of the main plotlines.
The gender politics are so one-sided it highlights a real problem in the film industry, even if the filmmakers claim it’s not a serious movie, it’s still unacceptable to so openly objectify women, especially in a large-scale feature film such as this.
Unfortunately that’s not the film’s only issue. The main cast struggles at times, perhaps exposed by the scale of a theatrical release. At one point we’re shown clips of Chase’s movie-in-a-movie, Hyde, a bizarre sci-fi film about a magical DJ, but the footage is so ridiculous I wasn’t sure if the exerpts were meant to be ironic (they weren’t). The film’s conveyor belt of cameos quickly grows ridiculous too.
Films like Entourage should be taking a swing at the absurdity of the Hollywood scene, but there’s no satirical humour on show. This is a film that plays up to the vapidity of starry circles and embraces the characters’ devil-may-care attitude as an irresponsible dream.
There are moments of entertainment, however brief, and if you are coming to the movie blind it won’t make too much of a difference. To the film’ s credit the overblown finale does feel like a nice rounding off for the characters too, but then after eight seasons on TV, it would have had to go some way to mess that up as well.