"I like short movies, man, you know, like comedies. You ever seen Bad Grandpa? That never gets old."
During its 8 season run on HBO, I saw a grand total of two episodes of the HBO series Entourage—both of which involved Gary Busey—before deciding it just wasn't for me. I feel the need to make such an admission up front to let people know that this is not a review for fans of the series, but rather a casual viewers opinion of what I feel is one of the worst, most self-indulgent pieces of filmmaking to ever grace a theater screen. The fans are certain to eat it up, but if you're not already 100% invested in the lives of these characters, I urge you to give this film a wide berth. It is, quite possibly, the most indulgent, naval gazing 104 minutes I've ever spent in a movie theater.
Perhaps the only positive thing that can be said about the film is that it's tailor made for those who enjoy living vicariously through people who have literally nothing but contempt for the general public. I was positively aghast at how much disdain this film has for the average American. The film derives most of its "laughs" from essentially pointing and laughing derisively at two gun-toting, George W. Bush-loving Texans without giving them anything to do other than be ridiculous straw men who are set ablaze instantaneously. It's the ultimate in insular Hollywood mockery, writ large for all to see. This is what Hollywood douchebags think of you Middle America, and your equally stereotypical view of them will be validated early and often.
To get those of us in the audience with only a base familiarity with these characters up to speed, the film proper opens with an exposé of actor Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) by Piers Morgan, playing himself in the first of the film's many, MANY useless cameos. We get to know Vinny's entourage of hangers-on: his best friend E (Kevin Connolly) who went from managing a Sbarro to producing 100 million dollar blockbusters; his older brother Johnny (Kevin Dillon), a failed actor hoping desperately for a shot to prove he's a legitimate talent; Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), his driver who has made a fortune hocking bathtub tequila with Mark Cuban; and Ari (Jeremy Piven) his agent turned studio head who is putting everything on the line to give Vinny his shot to prove himself as a director.
The only thing standing between Vinny and ultimate success are completion funds to finish his directorial debut Hyde, a film which we are told precious little about other than it's a masterpiece. To secure these funds, Ari must travel to Texas to meet with Larsen McCredle (a thoroughly wasted Billy Bob Thornton), one of the aforementioned gun-toting Texans, whose son Travis (Haley Joel Osment) has a particular interest in film production. Now Ari must tote Travis around Hollywood, trying desperately to keep him at arm's length lest he spoil the whole endeavor with his rube-like tastes and opinions.
The film's timeline makes zero sense, and only in retrospect does one realize that it essentially takes place over the course of about 48 hours. It is the absolute pinnacle of sloppy filmmaking, with stakes that are nothing short of laughably absurd to the bulk of its audience. Will Vinny's vision remain intact? Will Johnny finally get the respect he deserves? Will Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) forgive E for his many dalliances in time for their baby to be born? Will Ari get to keep his job? Will Turtle get to fuck MMA fighter Ronda Rousey? I've got great, spoilerific news for you, dear reader, the answer across the board is Oh YEAH, YEAH! Oh yeah!
In fact, take a look at the film's closing moments in which the guys take their blockbuster hit Hyde to the Golden Globe Awards, where Johnny wins the award for Best Supporting Actor. It's telling that the film considers a notoriously buyable award like the Golden Globe to be the ultimate in artistic validation. This is not a film set in any sort of real world, which would be fine if it were simply inviting you into the car as the guys' fifth wheel, but the film lords the characters' lifestyle over the audience's head with all the smugness of a two year old showing you her new doll and then telling you that you're not allowed to touch it. The levels of douchebaggery in this film are positively onion-like in their layers.
The film has no consequences because EVERYTHING works out in the end for these assholes. Perhaps the closest comparison for a film like this is this year's equally trashy Fifty Shades of Grey. It doesn't work for anyone that's not already a die hard fan of the source material, and will do nothing to win the unconverted to its cause because it makes zero accommodation for such viewers. The only genuine laugh the film elicited from me was a joke made, as far too many of them are, at the expense of Ari's gay former assistant Lloyd (Rex Lee), in which Ari compares Lloyd's father, clueless of his son's homosexuality, to "that guy from The Crying Game." It's a joke that's as hopelessly out of touch with 2015 as the rest of this series and film. Perhaps I laughed as hard as I did because for the first time in 90 or so minutes, I was allowed to laugh at the characters and not with them.
The film could have used more moments like this, but it's too busy bro-ing out to understand how an actual joke is constructed. Between Kevin Dillon's endless mugging, Jeremy Piven's "look at me" shenanigans, and the rest of the main cast's dedication to playing grab ass rather than actually, I don't know, acting, the film is a total wash and a sham. There's a reason that none of these men have achieved the levels of success afforded their characters... They're just not good. At all. I suppose we should just let them have their fun because frankly, they're the only ones enjoying themselves.
GO Rating: 0/5