Monday 9 November 2015

Entourage: The Movie

Entourage: The Movie is a film I was looking forward to for years. Ever since the series of the same name ended in 2011, we fans wanted more. And after a couple of years of toying with our emotions and announcing, cancelling and announcing again – the film was finally confirmed, and eventually released in 2015 after promising trailers. Did it live up to expectations?

Out now on DVD & Blu-Ray, Entourage: The Movie picks up where the series left off. Actor Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) is throwing a divorce party on a yacht somewhere off the coast of Ibiza when his entourage, half-brother ‘Drama’ (Kevin Dillon), driver ‘Turtle’ (Jerry Ferrara) and manager ‘E’ (Kevin Connolly), come to join him. When they arrive, he drops a bombshell – whatever film he stars in next, he also wants to be his directorial debut. This comes as a shock to Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), too. Once his agent and friend, now running a major film studio, he has the power to give his friend what he has always wanted. But is Vince ready to direct? Narratively, Entourage: The Movie just feels like a very short series of the show. But this is part of its downfall.

Condensing a story like this that the original show would’ve easily spent 6 or 7 hours on into a film length means a lot of rushing. Firstly, as a fine example of this, we don’t see a single second of Vince directing. Once his film is greenlit by Ari, we jump ahead 8 months and the film has finished shooting! Instead, Entourage: The Movie focuses on the post-production of Hyde, Vince’s project. Every conflict in the film regarding the production is either rushed and resolved within a scene or two, or introduced and then completely ignored. Alongside this and taking the lion’s share of the film’s length are painfully tedious subplots such as the never-ending ‘E’ & Sloan romance which wasn’t even remotely entertaining in the series, and ‘Turtle’s courting of Ronda Rousey (struggling to play herself). Kevin Dillon’s ‘Drama’ and Jeremy Piven’s Ari are, as with the series, the highlights here. The obnoxious ‘Drama’ steals every scene he’s in and Ari, although feeling like a more watered-down and politically correct version than the series offered, still gets regular chuckles with his stress induced insults and aggression. But the rest of the characters seem worse than they’ve ever been, and new character Travis (Haley Joel Osment) is the worst character the Entourage universe has ever given us.

The problem with a lot of the characters is their treatment of women. Granted, the Entourage series was never exactly respectful of women, but it had a heart deep down, and some strong female characters. Entourage: The Movie feels disrespectful. The majority of female characters here are merely background, wondering around with their tits and arses on show and generally just being part of the set. Like critic Mark Kermode said in his now-infamous Entourage: The Movie rant, the film feels like it’s trying to tell you this is what you should aspire to be, and that this is what success is. Fast cars, yachts, mansions, money and women. Like I said, the series had a heart behind all of this, but the film doesn’t. It comes off as despicable.

Maybe in all the excitement around Entourage: The Movie, we fans didn’t even consider that maybe Entourage just wouldn’t work as a film. Especially when film spin-offs of TV shows need to be accessible to everyone…This was another major issue I had with Entourage: The Movie. I know, a film like this needs wide appeal for financial reasons and so on, but we Entourage fans have wanted this film for so long. Doug Ellin, creator, writer and director, even stated this was for the fans. But the huge exposition on all the characters near the beginning of the film and the lack of many references to the series just felt like a kick in the balls to us. Cameos from series regulars – Billy Walsh, Lloyd, Shauna and very briefly Bob Ryan (“is that something you might be interested in?”) and Dom – are criminally underused, instead using precious screen time on uncomfortable cameos from a huge number of people including Jessica Alba, Pharrell, Thierry Henry (who attended the UK premiere of the film despite having ONE line) and Piers Morgan! 

But with all this aside, the main issue is the narrative. It’s uncomfortably choppy throughout, and even the Blu-ray’s deleted scenes do little to help this – they merely add more cameos. Instead of a film, Doug Ellin and the gang should’ve given us another series. Maybe this story would’ve worked over 6 hours. But clocking in at 105 minutes – the same length as less than 4 episodes – it simply didn’t work.

In conclusion, Entourage: The Movie was a major disappointment. Maybe it was the 4 year wait, maybe it was the narrative, maybe it was the insistence on making it accessible to a new audience. Whatever it was, I wish it could’ve been different. If you’re jumping straight into this after binge-watching the show, you might think I’m being dramatic. You might think it’s okay. If you’ve never seen any of the show, you might enjoy it. But for someone who has waited 4 years and been there throughout all the hype, Entourage: The Movie didn’t even come close to what I wanted. Creator Doug Ellin made this with the hopes of making sequels, but due to the horrendous critical and financial reception, he has stated these sequels will probably never happen. What a sad way for Entourage to end.

Entourage: The Movie earns 2/5, out of loyalty to the characters and the show. I can’t bring myself to give it the 1/5 it deserves…


Sam Love

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