(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 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.
The film bollixes up all the critical elements of the TV show. 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 just weird.
Worse, 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 aggressor, and as anyone who watched the series will tell you, Ari Gold is one entertaining combatant.
Two hours in and one gets the feeling that director, writer, and 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 Jekyll and Hyde, because Vince aced him out of a girl.
Even though they are excuses used to cover for being hurt over the girl, Osment’s criticisms are valid. He explains that Vince’s brother (Johnny Chase, played by Kevin Dillon) is putrid in his four “pivotal scenes” and that Vinnie himself sucks as the lead, and you know he’s probably right. Hell, when Ari nervously screens the picture and we get 2 minutes of it, it has the look and feel of a high-end Sprite commercial.
Alas, Osment is sent packing, and the boys get Golden Globes (ha! Not a People’s Choice?).
Osment, however, gets the last laugh. He was actually nominated for a real Academy Award.