A few years back, my friends and I spent a Friday night drinking at a comrade’s house when she got her place to herself for a weekend. We managed to get our hands on two rather large bottles of vodka and played a variety of drinking games; completely underestimating how much liquor we were putting into our system. Before midnight, one of my buddies and I were in the bathroom; violently vomiting into the toilet as we sobbed over what ‘failures’ we were as my poor girlfriend at the time babysat us to make sure we didn’t die at some point during that night.
I hated myself a lot back then, but even the unbearable sense of self-loathing I felt back then was nothing compared to my utmost repugnance for Entourage, the film-adaptation of the popular HBO series created by Doug Ellin, which debuted back in 2004. It’s a smug, lazy motion picture that, much like the show it spawned from, celebrates the various highs of being rich in Hollywood, complete with gags that some may view as offensive. The film brought back feelings I hadn’t felt since that irresponsible night of partying during my adolescence. At one point, my blood was boiling with such a vigorous rage I feared that geysers of molten lava would erupt from my mouth onto the person sitting in front of me, but I was fortunate enough to restrain myself.
Everything begins with the boys partying on a yacht in Ibiza, because why not? Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier), a movie star for reasons unbeknownst to me beyond his ‘charming’ good looks has recently gotten divorced, and calls up his former agent turned major studio head, Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), stating he not only wants to star in a new picture, he wants it to be his directorial debut. Cut to the opening titles, set to the show’s god-awful theme song, “Superhero” by Jane’s Addiction (OH YEAH), and all of a sudden, we flash-forward to the point where Vince’s movie is nearly finished, because he’s effortlessly good at everything, of course. The only snag? The film’s financer, Larsen McCredie (Billy Bob Thornton) requests that his smarmy doofus of a son, Travis (Hayley Joel Osment) see an early cut of the movie and provide feedback.
But of course, Vince’s companions have their own share of ‘conflicts’ to deal with as well. Eric ‘E’ Murphy (Kevin Connolly) is trying to get back together with his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), but has a difficult time staying away from other women and being more responsible. The freeloading, newly slim Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) has his eyes set on the famous MMA fighter, Ronda Rousey (playing herself), but unintentionally offends her when he misinterprets what it is that she wants. And Vince’s overlooked older brother, Johnny ‘Drama’ Chase (Kevin Dillon) may not only be cut from his sibling’s passion project, but he’s also humiliated when he becomes an internet sensation in the most unwanted way, to the point where he may even have to move back to Queens, NY as a result, guys! The stakes seem to be insurmountably high for our ‘beloved’ quartet.
Entourage moves along at a pace that’s somehow both episodic and sluggish, as if an entire season of television was abridged into one abysmal, highly condensed movie. This factor wouldn’t infuriate me as much if the film didn’t expect that we, as viewers, are supposed to admire these supposed protagonists, and wish we’re also “living the dream” like they do, as its multiple advertisements have endorsed. Apparently, this film/series claims to be a satire, but there’s no contextualized sense of ridicule here. This is a shallow male fantasy from its opening scene to its shamelessly self-satisfied finale.
For example, everyone claims that Vince’s movie, Hyde, a reimagining of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the dubstep crowd, is ‘amazing,’ but the footage we see of it is mind-bogglingly awful, and filmed in a manner that conveys how Ellin clearly wants us to believe it’s the masterpiece that his characters confirm. We get no insight into the actual process of Vince making the film, though, just the message that he’s our hero, and he’s good at everything, so he can do whatever he wants. The world is your oyster when you happen to be pretty… and rich… and apparently already have it all.
That means getting to sleep with any woman who crosses your path, all of whom who can be perceived as only sex objects or grumpy nags in this movie, never fleshed-out characters. Our band of bros make what can be considered disgusting remarks that are intended to be funny throughout the entirety of its interminable 105-minute runtime. Included are lines of dialogue such as “One vagina closes as another one opens.” There’s even one scene where Bob Saget makes a cameo, and has three gorgeous young women drooling over him at a party so much that he has to ask another character to hook up with her so he doesn’t have to. Hilarious, right?
No other film so far this year has offended me to the extent that Entourage has. Its glamourized outlook on the Los Angeles lifestyles of this foursome exemplifies everything that I view as wrong with Hollywood today, and its overall tonal perspective on the matter, frankly, makes me want to vomit. If you want to see something more satirical about a similarly amoral group of rich friends, watch Martin Scorsese’s radically brilliant The Wolf of Wall Street, which allows people to laugh at, not with, the questionable behavior that’s depicted if they so desire. This, on the other hand, is so celebratory of its wickedness that it feels like the cinematic equivalent of partying within the nine consecutive circles of Hell.
Director: Doug Ellin
Hayley Joel Osment
Billy Bob Thorton
Film Length: 105 minutes
Release Date: June 3, 2015
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures