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DVD Review: Entourage (2015)

Copyright Warner Bros. Picturess

I think the Entourage movie’s reputation got a bit inflated sometime over the 2015 summer, between Mark Kermode’s viral-ly outrageous claims and a flat opening weekend. It never got a chance, really, before it was hounded and preyed on by those beyond its target audience, never the main aim of any marketing team who wants to avoid their new movie being touted as the cinematic equivalent to sexist vomit.

With movies like this, the rare kind that sprouts from a TV show (especially one who’s popularity dwindled towards the end of its run), and takes the extra step outside into the open world, beyond the selective judgement of its own fans. What we have here is essentially a longer TV episode, with it being more structured and formalised. It does nothing to silence critics with minds already against their particular breed of humour, instead opting to go full speed ahead with the strain of humour that became so crudely warped in the shows’ last three seasons. There’s a lot to be said for this unchanging tone, employing the budget to bring the extravagance to such a level that even cameos from some of the A-lists’ biggest names became no more significant than a twitter mention.

Again, any question that can be raised about the movie becomes a little more ambiguous because of its having to be answered in relation to their source material. If you’re not a fan of the TV show, then why ought you watch the movie? Still, we must hold Entourage accountable for its crimes, of which there are many. The vulgarity of the film’s initial attempt to represent was too heavily masked with a barrage of off-taste humour. It doesn’t abide by the more formal structure the movie sets for itself, not allowing the free flowing nature of the characters enough room for movement like writer Doug Ellis did in his first few seasons.

What is Entourage? The movie has been equated to its HBO sibling, Sex and the City, as being a version of the show aimed at males. Entourage paints its picture with women, money and decadence. Nothing is not in abundance and what was perhaps meant at first to exaggerate the male fantasy of Hollywood, has now gotten a bit lost in its own world. Creating invisible problems with solvable problems, it never once feels like anyone hits pause on the party. But this is maybe what the intention of the film was. It’s hard to tell when it still exists in a landscape that teases signs of being so funny, that still possesses some of the charm that made it so popular in the first place.

Gaining the most of the little positive press that there was from the critics, Piven reprises his role as Ari Gold with he same comedic tenacity, blazing through his lines (still the sharpest item in the tool box) with the fiercely guided expertise that has seen him in the Golden Globe picture for five years straight in the role.

I’m not going to go into depth about the flaws in the movie, the critics make them quite clear. What the movie does do is cater to its fans, curious when you consider to make a profit, it needed to extend beyond that. But it didn’t, and it’s perplexing that the makers decided to opt for a huge number of cameos, trading instrumentation for recognition. They don’t really work, unfortunately. Warren Buffet’s surprisingly boasty flip and an oddly centre-staged Emily Ratajkowski. It reflects an attention paid to the flash rather than the quality. There are some bright sparks in the box of cameos however, which again is reminiscent of the show’s once top drawer uses of celebrities. Armie Hammer for example, is a superb use of cameo, here playing the heel as Ratajkowksi’s ex.

So in the end it does come off as a grand shame, the flavour of the series does stay but its not consistent. Entourage’s transition into the format of a movie appears like a group of people coming back to ground they thought they had figured out at the end of the series. But the landscape has changed, and with it the movie shuffles awkwardly into the instagram era…not gelling  enough by just forgetting that there is still the need for story and substance.