Boys R' UsBy: Yehudit Mam
Besides a fantastic title sequence that pays homage to Hollywood landmarks, the new Entourage movie, directed, produced and written by its creator Doug Ellin, is a super-sized version of a typical episode, even as it tries to inject more drama and plot into the proceedings. What zips by in a half an hour on TV, feels a little wobbly on the big screen. Entourage the movie is a fitfully entertaining bro flick that should have been made before the cast had aged ten years (men age too, who knew?). Most of them seem a little long in the tooth for these antics.
One thing is clear: Entourage is like a giant Toys R' Us for guys. The toys include snazzy cars, snazzy homes, tons of gorgeous girls and equally gorgeous food. If the TV show was always about insane conspicuous consumption, the movie takes that up a notch or ten. L.A. has become too small for these guys. The opening scene takes place in a yacht. Just the budget for the crudités may feed a small African country.
The best things in the movie, as on TV, are the characters who have stolen the show: Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven, delivering the most laughs), his long-suffering gay assistant Lloyd (Rex Lee), and loser extraordinaire Johnny Drama (the lovable Kevin Dillon). Poor, buffed up Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), Eric (Kevin Connolly) and Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) barely register amid all the bling. Piven and Dillon blow them off the screen.
I love the fact that Vincent Chase, the star around whom these guys congregate, is a non-entity. Here, he gets to direct his own movie, but nothing that happens to him seems to faze him, or us. He is as hollow as our crush on celebrity. As a meta cosmic joke, Vince's looks and success are irrelevant. I hope that the film he makes in the movie, seen as a masterpiece by the suits, is also meant as a joke. It looks awful.
Much of the pleasure of Entourage derives from the interaction between fictional and real celebrities, and the filmmakers spare no expense in cameo appearances. Entourage is a comedy about the inner workings of show business, so it celebrates what is rare in Hollywood: creativity over cravenness, and epic loyalty. The movie even goes all Ronald Reagan on us by championing —after all that debauchery!— family values. The message that human decency is worth considering does not seem intended as much for us mortal moviegoers, as for Vinnie Chase's and Ari Gold's Hollywood counterparts.
Everyone in Vinnie's entourage gets a heartwarming ending. But the happiest ending of them all belongs to he who most deserves it: the eternally aspiring Johnny Drama, the one underdog in that crazy town who is really worth rooting for.
LOGISTICS: Entourage, now playing.