Thursday, June 11, 2015
I do not own the above image. Copyright Warner Brothers Pictures. All Rights Reserved
Film & television have had a complicated relationship. When TV began to hit the mainstream in the early 1950s, some in the film industry thought the end of the theatrical experience because people will opt to stay home. Luckily, the quality of movies got people out. Then came the ways to watch movies at home: BetaMax, VHS, VideoDisc & LaserDisc. The question soon became: “Are people willing to stay home & wait 6-9 months for movies?” Luckily, most weren’t. Soon, studios learned to coexist with television, with revenues from home video sales & cable rights boosting their bottomline. With this, also began the seeping in of television shows rebooted onto the silver screen. I clearly remember seeing THE FLINTSTONES at my hometown drive-in. I also remember theatrical runs for THE BRADY BUNCH, GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE and INSPECTOR GADGET when I was young and rolling my eyes at BEWITCHED, LAND OF THE LOST and I SPY film adaptations.
Which leads us to ENTOURAGE, the film adaptation of the hit HBO series from the life/mind of Mark Wahlburg, which ran for 8 seasons. The show/film follows 4 guys from from Queens who hope to/succeed in making it big in Hollywood. You have the good-looking actor Vincent (Grenier), his BFF/manager Eric (Connolly), buddy/driver Turtle (Ferrara), half-brother Johnny Drama (Dillion), and frantic & tortured agent Ari Gold (Piven).
My journey with these guy began on June 4th, 20…15 at about 7pm, approximately one hour before I saw the movie down the street from my apartment. From that half hour of research, I deduced that I would be seeing nothing but 5 assholes doing douchy things because they are young, white, rich men. And the movie didn’t disappoint…in that regard. The movie still kind of stunk. Pretty bad.
Anyway, movie picks up right where the show left off. The boys celebrate on Vince’s yacht, drinking to his impending divorce of his 9 day-old marriage. Vince then gets a call from Ari about making a movie at his studio. Vince agrees with one condition: he directs it. The movie then sends us to 8 months into the future to present day (which makes no sense considering the show ended in September 2011). The film is unfinished & overbudget, Eric is about to become a dad to a child whose parents are no longer together, Turtle falls for Ronda Rousey, and Drama continues his quest to emerge from his brother’s shadow. Meanwhile, Ari is stuck in the middle trying to balance his personal & professional lives as the studio gets nervous about the movie with the financier (Thornton) & his son (Osment) breathing down his neck while keeping the “Happy wife (& child), happy life” mantra alive.
Of the five “gentlemen”, only Ari Gold is a real character. The times Piven goes batshit insane provide the lone bits of real entertainment. Gold is so frantic & biting that it’s amazing that he didn’t explode or have his nose broken. One thing I did find odd about Piven’s lines were the dozen or so times he references pop culture. All but one of those references from the Hindenburg to WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT to FORREST GUMP were over 20 years old. They got a slight reaction out of me but the rest of the audience, almost all of them around my age, barely chuckled. I understand that most of the movie references are age appropriate for Ari’s formative years, but considering the job he has and ENTOURAGE’s target demographic, you’d think writer/director/producer/caterer/intern/douchebag Doug Ellin would added a few HUNGER GAMES or AVENGERS jokes. I got a little bit of laughter from Johnny Drama if only because he reminds me of Ronnie “The Limo Driver” Mund from the Howard Stern Show. I wonder if he wears Mambo. Hey now!
The other three, on the other hand, are worthless. First, Vincent Chase is a bore of a character and Adrian Grenier is horrible actor. Vince’s role in this movie is to beg to save his movie/career half-assedly and hang out with the equally boring Emily Ratajkowski. There is no joy to watching him on screen. Even less enjoyable (and more misogynistic) is E’s storyline. E has a pregnant on/off/on/off girlfriend that’s he wants to help out while dating someone else. When that ends, E has a one night stand that night. This storyline produces a scene so awkwardly anti-woman that I expected a Wet T-Shirt Contest to begin during the scene. Finally, Turtle’s main purpose is to hit on Ronda Rousey. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Rousey is put to much better use here than in FURIOUS 7. Just another subplot that begins & ends like a typical, half-hour sitcom subplot.
The rest of the movie is based on how much you love celeb cameos or how young, rich Texans are entitled assholes. Every time a sports or music star appeared the audience lost it. Not a single one of them did something memorable or noteworthy, like a Seltzer/Freiberg “comedy”. And Haley Joel Osment gets to live the Hollywood life as the spoiled son of Billy Bob Thornton. Other than a scene in a hotel room, neither get to do anything.
ENTOURAGE is the guys’ night out movie they’ve been waiting for. And just like the girls’ night out movie this summer, PITCH PERFECT 2, it stinks. Thanks to Ari Gold, it’s a little better. But, bros, you deserve better? Well, better than this. Maybe.