An extravagant party on a boat filled with topless Spanish women, long tracking helicopter shots, and of course a brand new car! These are just a few of the stylistic smokescreens Entourage uses to try to convince you that it is not one of the most boring films of the year, which is exactly what it is — painfully boring. Sitting through “this movie” is almost as painful as a Ronda Rousey roundhouse to the face. As a fan of most of the HBO series it is especially difficult to see such a poorly written script brought barely to life by characters who were once, despite their propensities to repeat the same mistakes while acting like arrogant, immature fratboys, generally beloved.
Vince (Adrian Grenier/Vincent Chase) and the boys reunite in Ibiza, Spain to quickly explain what we have missed since the show ended almost four years ago. Vince’s marriage to Sophia lasts only nine days after only knowing her for twenty-four hours — shocking. Was this the plan from the beginning to write her out or did Alice Eve just realize there were better projects available, such as anything else? Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui/Sloan) is preparing to have E’s (Kevin Connolly/Eric Murphy) baby, but they are not together. Turtle (Jerry Ferrera/Turtle) is living comfortably off of his Tequila fortune and Johnny Chase (Kevin Dillon/Johnny Chase) is doing whatever Johnny Chase does. We also find out Ari is back in business and preparing for his ascent to become the most powerful man in Hollywood by running his own studio. And could you guess what his first order of business is? He has something for Vince. It is a 100 million dollar project that he wants Vince to star in. One last go-round for the boys. Vince tells Ari he will only do it on one condition, “I want to direct.” Although it may seem like a horrible idea to hand the reigns of your first project as the head of a billion dollar studio to a first time director, Vinnie is his boy, and you cannot argue with that business logic.
The outrageous credits roll, gratuitously plastering Doug Ellin’s name as well as a lengthy list of celebrity cameos throughout locations in Los Angeles. They look poorly photoshopped or as if they were created in PowerPoint and are every bit as cheap and overindulgent as everything that follows them. After the opening credits we skip to after Vince has made “this movie”. It is referred to as “this movie” because that is how the characters of Entourage refer to it for the majority of the film. They clearly see it as simply a commodity to use like the women and cars in their lives and as a means to advance their careers, despite Vince’s whiny assertions that he is a true artist and cares about the art. “It” is mentioned by name no more than five times throughout a movie in which it is supposedly the driving force of the plot. “It” is Hyde, a modern reimagining and/or bastardization of the late 19th century novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is only mildly surprising that for a short book with less than ten characters Vince cannot stay under the 100 million dollar budget of which he promised Ari he would. The thirty seconds we get to see of Vince’s final product is chock-full of gyrating, leather-clad techno ravers, Calvin Harris, sci-fi droplets that appear to contain some orange liquid-gel concert drug, and Vinnie Chase in a hoodie dropping beats on stage while distributing the mysterious drops to the audience. Nothing else of Hyde is explained, this egregious clip is all we have to go on.
To be fair all of this should be expected going into Entourage. As fans of the show know, it has always been a male fantasy show full of naked women, excess, narcissism, and the assumption that everything will work out for the boys in the end. The biggest problem though is that while Vince, Ari, and the film’s financier from Texas and his son (Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment) scream and shout about how important this film is to each of them, trying to raise the stakes with every line they deliver, the stakes have actually never felt lower. Everything is on the line this time: Ari and Vince’s careers, the studio and the Texans’ money, and most importantly Johnny Drama’s reputation as he also has a “small but pivotal role” in his brother’s movie. Yet it all feels predictable, weightless, and incredibly lazy. We just assume it will work out for them again as it always has in the past. And because the film glosses over all of the hard work put into Hyde and shows very little of Vince’s ultimate creation it makes it impossible to care about anything that the characters are going through. It makes you wonder if anyone who worked on Entourage has even read the book that the fictional film was supposedly based on. The filmmakers were clearly more focused on celebrity cameos than they were with making the audience care about the story. Although the two lines delivered by T.I. aka T.I.P. aka Tip Harris aka Rubberband Man almost make this film bearable to sit through.
Within the last year Alejandro Iñárritu brought us an intelligent film primarily about acting, but also the celebrity lifestyle that managed to blur the line between fiction and reality and warned against much of the self-obsessed and immodest qualities that Entourage seems to advocate. You will leave this film wishing that just a kernel of Birdman’s thoughtfulness and self-awareness would have found its way into the lackluster Entourage script. Die-hard fans of the show will love seeing these characters together again regardless of what they are doing, but as a one time supporter, it is both frustrating and shocking to realize just how little each character has grown and developed over the past eleven years; they are the most stagnant and static characters of recent memory. Hopefully Entourage 2 is not a thing and they all quit while they are ahead, but it kind of feels like everyone involved could drag it out forever until the identities of the actors merge with their onscreen personas, because much like the increasingly repelling characters they portray, the creators of the Entourage universe live perpetually in their own fantasy.