I’VE NEVER watched Entourage, the long-running HBO comedy drama loosely based on Mark Wahlberg’s experiences as an actor in image-obsessed Hollywood.
Having spent 104 tedious minutes in the company of this vapid big screen spin-off, written and directed by show creator Doug Ellin, I’m staggered the TV show survived for eight series. A flimsy plot provides five central characters with myriad opportunities to bellyache about their fabulous millionaire’s lifestyles in the American mecca of film-making, surrounded by gorgeous, scantily clad women and designer labels.
It’s impossible to sympathise with these ingrates, who have their hearts’ desires – including fairy-tale romances – but still want more.
Ellin’s script venerates greed in each cameo-laden frame, asking us to root for the egotistical quintet as they cruise the streets in a Cadillac convertible, mithering about every little setback in their enviable lives. In the current age of austerity, Entourage’s determination to bow down at the altar of decadence sticks in the throat.
A hilariously wooden opening narration from Piers Morgan provides an update on the characters since the TV show ended in 2011. Hollywood star Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier) has divorced his wife after nine days and is seeking a new creative outlet as a first-time director of the dystopian fantasy, Hyde.
Manager Eric (Kevin Connolly), half-brother Drama (Kevin Dillon) and pal Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) support Vince’s dream, while wheeler dealer agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) is now a film studio executive, who has stumped up $100 million to finance Vince’s bold vision. The project is over budget and Vince needs more funds to complete his masterpiece. Texan multi-millionaire Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton), who bankrolls the film studio, isn’t pleased to learn about delays to Hyde. The Texan despatches his son Travis (Haley Joel Osment) to Hollywood to view an unfinished cut and decide whether to meet the extra budget demands.
Entourage feels like an elongated TV episode that has mistakenly found its way into a cinema projector. Gags repeatedly fall flat, a subplot involving the big gay wedding of Ari’s former assistant (Rex Lee) verges on offensive, and the cast struggle to find attractive traits in their self-obsessed protagonists. To emphasise the pointlessness of the entire enterprise, after 90 minutes of tedium, Vince and co suddenly remember they have several million dollars lying around and can meet the shortfall themselves. As the end credits approach – though not quickly enough – the film clumsily attempts a self-referential wink by inviting the characters to contemplate a TV show about their bromantic escapades. “Dullest thing I’ve ever heard,” deadpans Ari. It’s a rare moment of honesty and clarity from Ellin amid the dross.