Posted on June 2, 2015 at 5:32 pm

I sometimes muse that it might be nice to have a rule that I spend no more time writing a review of a film than the screenwriter spent writing the script.  If I had, this review could end right here, with these words: not unpleasant but entirely forgettable.

Alas, no such rule exists, so here I go.  Recently, I learned the term “fan service,” and if you do not know what that means, the “Entourage” movie will do to explain it.  There are movies that pander to the fans, and then there are movies that pander proudly, and “Entourage” panders proudly and is seemingly unaware that there is any other kind of movie to make.  This is a little sad because to the minimal extent it is supposed to be about anything, it is supposed to be about artistic integrity in the midst of soulless Hollywood.  And by “supposed to be about,” I mean that the characters appear to come down on the side of artistic integrity.  The filmmakers, not so much.

Copyright 2015 HBO
Copyright 2015 HBO

The dwindling fans of HBO series will enjoy the pretty girls in pretty settings, the passes at those pretty girls that are warmly received (vicarious thrills) and those that are not (vicarious schadenfreude), the Hollywood triumphs (v. thrills), and the Hollywood failures (v. schadendreude) .   They will get a kick out of the guys’ loyalty (v. t.) and the industry betrayals (v.s.).

They will enjoy the insider-y feeling of the in-jokes, call-outs, and guest stars.  All of that is entertaining, especially Liam Neeson giving Ari (Jeremy Piven) the finger and Jessica Alba in costume yelling at him about her passion project.  I quite liked Warren Buffett calling out advice from a studio lot golf cart.  And there were probably some sports people in it that I couldn’t recognize.

Like the series, the film was produced by Mark Whalberg, inspired by his life before he became a devoted husband and father, when he was taking advantage of being young, handsome, and successful in Hollywood and and his pals from back home were taking advantage of him.  It ended with the young star Vince (Adrian Grenier), having starred in the biggest box office movie of all time, marrying a beautiful girl, and his volcanically profane agent, Ari (Jeremy Piven) retiring.  Both the marriage and the retirement are dispatched in the first few minutes, with Ari coming back to head up a studio and offering Vince a job in a big film called “Hyde,” an updated version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

But Vince wants to direct.  Not because he has any special artistic statement he wants to make or because he has spent his time on movie sets learning how it’s done — Vince continues to be a cypher.   No, it’s just to give Ari something to melt down about.
Vince’s buddies have two modes.  Most often, they are razzing each other.  Second to that is talking about banging chicks, much of which also involves their razzing each other.  Every so often, some light-weight plot spurs them to bro out and demonstrate some loyalty.  Rinse and repeat.

There is some good, silly fun, and seeing Piven go nuts is so delightful it is disappointing this film has him working on his anger management.  But there’s nothing here that shows any particular insights into people or show business.  Like Vince, it’s blank.  And like his parties, you won’t feel so good about yourself afterward.

Parents should know that this film includes a lot of debauched behavior, with parties, drinking, drugs, and crude and explicit sexual references and situations and a brief fight scene.

Family discussion:  Which of the guys is the best friend to Vince?  If you made it big, which friends would you bring with you?  Which one of your friends would you follow to Hollywood?

If you like this, try: the HBO series and “The Player”

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