Entourage captures the nihilism of the film industry”

by Steve Pulaski

Speaking as someone who has never watched an episode of the HBO program Entourage, the film adaptation of the hit Television show works just fine for an ignorant moviegoer who wants a slice of summer fun without the hefty budget explosions and sensory annihilation. Entourage works beautifully as a nihilistic raunchy comedy that shows the real side of not only being rich and famous, but manipulative and condescending to those who do not seem to be on your same level. Combine five devilishly funny, quick-witted presences immersed in a world of greed and self-corruption and we have our first sleazy summer hit.

The last time I saw a comedy quite as bombastic as Entourage was in 2013 with Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain. While that film worked to show the perplexing crime story of two incredibly dangerous bodybuilders that plotted to commit murder. Just the very way that film was shot showed its cocky tendencies, boasting a glossy and sleek aesthetic that only pulsated with life when capturing the personalities on screen. Entourage functions with a similar kind of grandiosity, only this time, there’s a focus on the sleaze of the movie industry.

Entourage
Directed by
Doug Ellin
Cast
Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrara
Release Date
3 June 2015
Steve’s Grade: B


Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) is given the privilege of carrying out an expensive passion project in the form of a film thanks to his loyal and breakneck studio head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven). The project is called “Hyde” and is a new, subversive take on the tired story of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” and Chase has granted his closest friends – Eric “E” Murphy (Kevin Connolly), Sal “Turtle” Assante (Jerry Ferrara), and his C-list actor brother Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillon) – roles in the production. Fast-forward months after project commenced, Chase has repeatedly gone over-budget and is seeking more money from an already hard-pressed Ari, who must grovel for the cash from investor Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton) and his pompous son Travis (Haley Joel Osment).

The film, which is structured more like a series of ribald vignettes, follows Ari’s request to get Chase, his golden-boy, more money to complete the film, whilst doing the tricky dance of keeping McCredle optimistic that the money is being put to something useful. Chase will not let anyone see the final project, understandably making the investors behind the project suspicious of the work that’s being done. On top of everything, the boys still can’t shake their unhealthy habit of screwing every piece of Los Angeles tail they can find, greatly disrupting the work on Chase’s project all the more.

Your appreciation for Entourage as a fan of the TV show is something I cannot predict, never having seen the show. As a stand-alone venture for myself, the film captures the nihilism of the film industry very well. There’s a grimy, pessimistic view on everyone involved in the industry, along with the backhanded deals that simultaneously keep the industry growing and making money but also work to strip any remnants of morality away from it in the long-run.

This is a consistently ugly movie; few scenes go by without some nudity or casual alcohol/drug abuse and even less go by without rampant vulgarities. The vignette-structure for this film works for keeping it very loose and unpredictable. Consider the scene where “E” learns from a one night stand that he is about to be a father before arriving to talk with her at a coffeeshop where he’ll be the subject of humility. The added touch is that his embarrassment will have an audience of Drama and Turtle.

Scenes like that keep Entourage moving in the direction of comic unpredictability and unbridled industry cynicism. The sexist attitudes aren’t meant to be taken seriously – they’re meant to reflect the attitudes of four overgrown manchildren that have long needed a coming of age moment in their shallow lives. There’s also the exploration of the dark sides of being rich, continuing to affirm the long-held misconception that money brings happiness and eternal safety. This is a film that is thoroughly contemptible but not negatively so if one examines the messages and themes it’s trying to explore. In a year full of onenote, ridiculous comedies, some offensive, others wholly forgettable, Entourage is a ribald silver lining.