(Reporting from the Blizzard of ’16)
The TV show was two seasons too long but most always amusing, giving you a taste of what it might be like to be young, dumb, affable and famous in the candy dish that is Hollywood. The show’s greatest attributes were its locale, engine (the hyper, high-powered brutal agent Ari Gold played by Jeremy Piven) and length (a brisk 30 minutes). Entourage gave to men what Sex in the City gave to women, though the latter could often seem a conflicted and forbidding place for the female archetypes. Not the sandbox that was Entourage‘s Hollywood. Sure, the fellas had come occasional relationship issues or fights with studios, but nothing that could not be wrapped up quickly and remedied by weed, easy sex with nubile ornaments, and kick ass parties where crazy, funny high jinx always occurred.
The film bollixes up all its critical elements. The locale is used solely for a series of unfunny cameos and time-wasting sojourns. The likes of Liam Neeson, Mark Wahlberg (the show’s canny producer) and Armie Hammer (he’s someone?) just show up, which is not nifty, just weird. The Hollywood of now just seems tired and pedestrian. Piven, now a studio head instead of a mere agent, is less antagonistic and biting than weary and beleaguered, and his time is spent making sure the dream film of his pretty boy Eliza Doolittle/Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier; he directs!) is financed by mean old Billy Bob Thornton, a gun totin’ Texas kabillionaire and the studio’s primary financial partner. This leaves Piven in the role of supplicant most of the film, not a condition anyone wants to watch. And at two hours, one gets the feeling that director, writer, creator Doug Ellin was desperately looking for filler. He does a few pointless things with Vince’s gang, but it is not enough. Like a kid completing a term paper coming in short, we get a lot of driving and walking scenes. If they are your thing, this is your flick.
The best part of the movie is one aspect of the actual story, which has Thornton’s spoiled son (played by Haley Joel Osment of The Sixth Sense fame, who now sees bored people) coming up to Hollywood and attempting to put the kibosh on Vince’s opus, a futuristic remake of Jeckyl and Hyde, because Vince aced him out of a girl. The funny thing is this: even though they are excuses, Osment’s criticisms almost have to be valid, and as he explains that Vince’s brother (Johnny Chase, played by Kevin Dillon) is putrid in his four “pivotal scenes” and that Vinnie himself sucks, you know he’s right. Hell, when Ari nervously screened the picture and we got 2 minutes of it, it had the look and feel of a high-end Sprite commercial.
Alas, Osment is sent packing, the boys get Golden Globes (ha! Not a People’s Choice?), and hopefully, this guilty pleasure is now out of our reach once and for all. Osment, however, gets the last laugh. He was actually nominated for an Academy Award.
The one star is for old time’s sake.