As I was visiting the men’s room following the preview screening of Entourage, two bros were excitedly discussing the film at adjoining urinals. "I bet they shot 100 casting couch sex tapes on that set," bro one said breathlessly to bro two, without a trace of humor or irony in his voice.
I provide this vignette to let you know that Entourage is satisfying the needs of its core demographic—and to give you fair warning about who comprises said demographic. I say this without judgment or sarcasm: If women having sex on camera in order to obtain bit parts on modestly budgeted feature films is the sort of thing that inspires awe in you, then the world of Entourage will be up your alley.
The movie picks up a week or two after the show dropped off. Those with some basic familiarity with the show who did not necessarily watch every episode (like your humble reviewer) are able to catch up quickly enough. Ultra-agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) is coming out of retirement to head up a movie studio and, for his first major project, wants Vinny Chase (Adrian Grenier)—currently lounging off the coast of Ibiza with his crew and a yacht filled with beautiful, semi-nude women—to star. Vinny also wants to direct.
We jump ahead eight months. Hyde—a retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in which the titular character is, apparently, a socially conscious EDM DJ inciting revolution on the streets of a futuristic Los Angeles—is almost done. Vinny’s best friend and manager, E (Kevin Connolly), is serving as a producer on the project, so it’s his job to ask Ari for more money. This, in turn, necessitates Ari flying out to Texas to wrangle some cash from an oilman (Billy Bob Thornton) and his dopey son (Haley Joel Osment).
There are, of course, a series of subplots. They are, of course, almost entirely extraneous, existing solely to give each of the crew something to do for the surprisingly-bloated-feeling 107-minute running time. Fan service is well and good, but when your fans are mostly interested in staring at hot naked women fighting each other to please a group of guys, I’m not entirely sure we need a hastily considered, poorly sketched out series of scenes that culminate in a slapdash celebrity sex tape joke.
Entourage is refreshingly regressive, in a way. This is no treatise on social responsibility. No one is here to learn. No one is shamed. Ari remains delightfully politically incorrect and Vinny is still a cad and E, the closest thing to a normal person in the show, gets to have his cake (two slices within a 24 hour period, in fact) and eat it, too. Hollywood is painted as gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh, a playground for the rich and famous and their friends. They pluck their cars from the trees and take their pretty pollies and everyone has a jolly old time. We viddy Vinny and his droogs do all this with a smile on our face and a tune jangling in our heart: "Just singin’ … in … the rain."
I’ve never really bought the argument that Entourage serves as a critique of the film industry. But I’m more than happy to entertain the argument that it’s a rather fascinating critique of its audience’s desires.