Now we'll find out if Vince really can open a movie
The Entourage crew are back, only this time on the big screen. Still living it up with the best cars, houses and women Tinseltown has to offer, and plenty of low-brow humour in tow.Sitting through Entourage was an exercise in patient reservation. Well known for having misogynistic themes combined with a healthy dose of female objectification, the series was originally a banal bromance about Hollywood “it” boy, Vincent and his posse of friends from Queens, New York. Living the gang’s American Dream chock full of glitz, glamour and the privileges of success, the story picks up with a honeymoon-turned-annulment party for Vince off the coast of Ibiza. Ari has decided to forgo retirement in favour of taking the position of a studio head in Hollywood, and Vince is his number one pick to star in an upcoming film. The only catch is Vince’s requirement to also direct. Given a budget of $100 million, what could possibly go wrong in that most fickle of cities?The film’s tangled narrative proves that it is definitely more suited to television where we can follow and expand on different storylines without losing the main plot. Whilst existing fans will probably warmly welcome Entourage, as a standalone film it just doesn’t tow the rope for me. E is in a constant state of relationship crisis, Johnny is a sad sort of lost boy, Turtle plays second fiddle to his love interest (MMA fighter Ronda Rousey), and Vince is nearly non-existent. Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold takes the cake with his diabolical outbursts of anger and frustration at the Texan “cow-towing cow tippers” funding his film, played by Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment. The latter does a surprisingly convincing job at being the incapable, bumbling son of a rich Texas oil baron.
Billy Bob Thornton’s Larsen McCredle has the only serious moment in the film, perhaps the singular touch of morality, when he counters Ari’s embarrassing outing of Travis in front of a whole studio board. Explaining his own understanding of his son being a “buffoon”, Mr McCredle tells Ari he hopes that when his own son grows up, even if he does become a buffoon, people will at least pretend to respect him, if only out of respect for his father before him. I did appreciate this sentiment. In a film largely made for fun, it’s important to remember taking stabs at people does have its consequences, in the film industry as in life.
The film’s best element is possibly its ‘meta’ nature. Making a film about the making of a film gives the filmmakers an almost unlimited avenue for commentary on the film industry itself, and their views are heard several times throughout. The use of the word ‘pivotal’ for example to describe Johnny’s role in Vince’s film has been heard a thousand times before. To convince a bigger name to play a smaller role, one has to be persuasive and what better way than to play up the character’s necessity to the film’s ultimate plot?
Additionally, there's the assumption that digital production is cheap, resulting in Travis (Osment) suggesting they simply use a hologram to replace Vince. The assumption that “fixing it in post” is ever a good idea relays another commentary. If you’re in production, “fixing it in post” is a last resort, not the first option. This ignorance is meant to shed light on the role of post-production as an art, a necessary one, but not an excuse for poor filmmaking.
The best moments are when the writers comment on the current state of modern filmmaking.
Ari’s conversation with John Ellis (Alan Dale) was also hugely telling, as the subtext at the heart of the argument was Hollywood’s growing dependence on globally appealing films and less on the art of a localised story. Effectively calling out cowardice on the studio’s part, Doug Ellin made a bold writing decision on the film, produced by one of the six major studios, Warner Bros. It would hardly be the first film to do so, but it is possibly one of the clearest references I’ve heard in awhile, symptomatic of an ailing system, stricken with worry and risk management.
Even given Entourage was a series prior to the film and my reservations about the film being too riddled with references for comprehension, the movie was able to stand on its own. I understood the characters with enough background exposition to get by, even if I’m sure some of the nuances escaped me. The amount of nudity was to be expected, but the lewd nature of it and its obvious tendency to objectify the female form seems outdated to me in 2015. With a real push for equality for women in Hollywood, I’m surprised at the choice, but I suppose it shows how far society still has to go.
No doubt Entourage fans will be happy with the film continuation. Anticipation is a natural symptom of the end of any successful television show, and fans probably won’t be disappointed. However, I don’t see Entourage appealing on a large scale to a wider audience as a standalone film. There is simply too much going on narratively for any plot to really take shape.
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.