Thursday, June 04, 2015

Re-taking Hollywood

You did it, Hollywood! You have now given us two real-bad summer movies in a row. And given us yet another example of why you should leave well enough alone.


Four years after the finale of the comedy series upon which it is based aired on HBO, the long-awaited – yeah, if like, this were three years ago – Entourage movie is here, ready to not impress.

Harsh, I know, but it must be said that Entourage’s comeback ain’t all that good or fun. The movie’s not terrible like Aloha was terrible (btw, thanks, I guess, Cameron Crowe, for apologizing for casting Emma Stone as an Asian-American – now WTF is the sorry for delivering such a hot mess?). I mean, at least this offering makes, y’ know, sense. However, unlike, say the first Sex and the City movie (a proposition similarly fueled by insta-nostalgia), this TV-to-big screen endeavor fails to live up to expectations. It just doesn’t cut it – ’cause it didn’t bring it, plot-wise.

The storys more of the same from the Queens boy-turned-It Boy who made it huge and his scrappy crew of best buds 4ever: Vincent Vince Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his entourage are still on top of the Tinseltown heap, except his rarefied-air world, as magnified on the silver screen, looks pretty tinsel-less. The movie wastes no time essentially picking up just after the show left off: Vince is getting his quickie marriage to an unseen gal – some Vanity Fair reporter, per a quick Google update – annulled. E (Kevin Connolly) is still managing Vinnie and about to become a father (although he and Emmanuelle Chriqui’s Sloan aren’t together anymore). Turtle’s (Jerry Ferrara) swimming in dough after his tequila business took off like a rocket and still looking decidedly less doughy than when we first met him (and wooing Ronda Rousey, too). And Kevin Dillon’s hacktor Dramas still, well...Drama (no breaks anywhere he turns).

Trust, the fantasy-life elements that made the show so entertaining for a good chunk of its Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated eight-season run – including the cool cars (like one the two Cadillac Ciel prototypes that exist on Earth); the unlimited access to fun (the movie opens on a yacht cruising the waters of Miami doubling as those of Ibiza) and hot chicks (just about every scene features some PYT entering or exiting the frame in an effortless shimmy); and the starry cameos galore – are there.

Now, though, in the Kardashian Age, in a time in which the #RichKids have made this commonplace, those things aren’t as, um, aspirational (?) anymore, and they definitely don’t transport us to Vinnie’s world the same way they once did. The fantasy comes from imagining a world in which a cameoing Jessica Alba has enough clout to threaten to walk away from a major blockbuster franchise lest her “passion project” gets a green light, right there on the very spot, in the middle of a studio lot, as she throws a mini-tantrum during one of several look-who-we-got-to-cameo montages in the movie. What was once fun to do – peak at a Hollywood up-and-comer’s life on a weekly basis – is a bore as a 104-minute production.

Which brings me to Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven).

Piven won a Golden Globe and three Emmys for his gonzo performance as the hellish, most effective talent agent in town, and it was awesome to watch tear into anything and anyone that got on the way of his glory. As one of the anchors of a movie, Ari can grate som’in’ fierce, no matter how much writer-director Doug Ellin, who also created and steered the show, tries to humanize him. Ari’s a studio head now, and the story hinges on the high stakes of his giving into Vince’s desire that he direct his next starring vehicle (a set-in-a-futuristic-L.A. take on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde simply titled Hyde). Serious money people – Texans, no less – with real clout are at Ari’s neck (hey, Billy Bob Thornton and – what?! – Haley Joel Osment...?), and yet, he is the only one fretting about it.

Golden-boy Vince, we’ve come to find out, will shine in the end no matter what, and that makes Entourage an empty investment at the box office, no matter how many Emily Ratajkowskis they throw at us.

The Entourage movie looks pretty, but its charisma does not translate to the multiplex. You’ll be better off On Demanding it when the time comes.

My Rating **

Photo: Warner Bros.

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