Movie review: 'Entourage' is back and as blank as ever

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

You may not have missed them, but Vinnie, E, Turtle and Drama are back, as empty and self-centered as ever, in the aimless, vapid "Entourage" movie.

The "Entourage" TV series, which ran on HBO for eight seasons from 2004 to 2011, embodied a bawdy frat boy mentality and set a low bar for humor; it was the Axe Body Spray of HBO's Sunday-night lineup. It wasn't an examination of clown-car Hollywood culture as much as it was a celebration of it, and it wore out its welcome early into its run.

As the "Entourage" movie opens up — on a yacht in the middle of Ibiza, of course — not much has changed. The word "bro" is uttered for the first time less than two minutes in, right after the first pair of breasts are seen on screen. "Entourage" and boobs, bro. Welcome back!

This time around Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) is ready to direct his first film, so he muscles his former agent, now studio head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) to make it happen. We pick up months later when filming has wrapped and Vinnie needs more money from the studio to finish the film's visual effects. Hollywood problems! Ari is left to deal with the financiers, a Texas oil tycoon (Billy Bob Thornton) and his hapless son (Haley Joel Osment), who would like to make some changes on the project.

Vinne's pals — manager E (Kevin Connolly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and brother Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) — orbit the story with their own issues (Drama is still longing to be taken seriously), but the loose plot is simply an excuse for a parade of cameos from the worlds of film (Liam Neeson, Armie Hammer, Jessica Alba), sports (Tom Brady, Clay Matthews, Ronda Rousey), music (T.I., Calvin Harris, Pharrell) and more. There are plenty of opportunities to skewer or otherwise comment on Hollywood's lecherous community of wannabes, but "Entourage" is so wrapped up in itself it can't see that it is already a parody. The mirror has no reflection.

Vinnie displays self-doubt over "Hyde," his film-within-the-film, as he should; the short clip that is shown, where he stars as some sort of post-apocalyptic DJ, is laughably bad. But "Entourage" treats it as genius property, which is where the train really goes off the rails. The film's abrupt climax is a cheap cop-out that proves there were really no stakes in the first place and the enterprise has no respect for its audience. "Entourage" just wants to keep the party going, even though it ceased being fun a long time ago.

agraham@detroitnews.com

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'Entourage'

GRADE: D

Rated R: for pervasive language, strong sexual content, nudity and some drug use

Running time: 104 minutes

Entourage (R)