Times are always changing. That has a lot to do with the negative reception that the new Entourage film has received from critics. Entourage was once a critically acclaimed, Best Comedy Series Emmy nominee that has now become the butt of every critic’s joke over the past week. That’s not because of a major downgrade in quality, but because we now live in an era of political correctness that did not exist when Entourage first premiered on HBO in 2004. The misogyny on display during this film is deplorable, and it’s a shame that the one good female character from the show (Constance Zimmer’s Dana Gordon) is reduced to nothing more than a glorified cameo. However, it’s not like this was a quality that just randomly manifested itself during the film. It was there from the very beginning, and the obsession over the misogyny of the film from most critics actually causes some really good qualities from this film to be ignored. Entourage has way too many storylines going on, but what works, really works, as Johnny Drama and Ari Gold remain the iconic characters that they were on the show.
Entourage picks up with Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier) convincing Ari (Jeremy Piven), Vinny’s former agent turned studio head, to give him his next big feature as his directorial debut. Problems arise when Vinny goes over budget and the team needs to convince a wealthy heir (an unrecognizable, adult form Haley Joel Osment) to give them the money despite his disdain for Drama (Kevin Dillon). This is a film that you can go into without watching the TV show it is based off of, but you will be missing a lot of inside jokes and an already established affection for some of the characters.
At it’s best Entourage was a fantastic satire of Hollywood with scene stealing performances from Jeremy Piven and Kevin Dillon. Unfortunately, in terms of the first part, the movie isn’t as deft as the series could be at times. The Hollywood on display here is rather ridiculous, which doesn’t fall in line much with the show that once predicted Avatar in hilarious fashion with its James Cameron’s Aquaman arc. However, the movie more than delivers on the second point. The film puts Piven and Dillon in positions where they can really go with it with their characters. Piven’s Ari gets an extended tirade that is up there as one of his best, while Dillon’s Drama gets an ending that the whole series has been seemingly leading to. Even some of the more problematic characters on the show (like Turtle) get some good material.
Unfortunately, not all of the plotlines work. Vinny’s attempt to direct a film feels rather lifeless thanks to a performance from Adrian Grenier that just doesn’t work, and the less said the better about E’s problems during the course of the film. It’s most likely where all of the negativity towards the film is coming from.
Entourage ultimately falls in line with the more mediocre seasons of the show. It doesn’t get anywhere close to the heights of season 2 but isn’t the disaster that the final season was.