Grown men need fairy tales. They want to believe in a world where there is no pain around them and no hell below them. This world's currencies are horsepower, liquor, and tits — all in ample abundance so that no brother goes without. This mythical land exists in the most epic male fairy tale ever told: Entourage, the movie.
I am but a neophyte in the Church of Rose Gold and Axe. But for 104 minutes I lived within the gates of Brohalla. I saw the breasts of several women, but I do not remember their faces. I hung out with the gods they call Vince (Adrian Grenier), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), and Drama (Kevin Dillon), and the tiny deity E (Kevin Connolly). I learned that good things come to bros who wait. I came face to face with Brohalla's villain, a greasy ball of Texan descent who is apparently Haley Joel Osment's adult form.
And I lived to tell the tale.
Brothers and sisters, it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you of an indisputable truth: the Entourage movie is a splendid, shiny disaster. It is an impossible ambition to tailor the epic proportions of male narcissism into one film. But that did not stop the good men (and few women) behind Entourage from trying and valiantly failing.
Entourage should just be called "I don't like it when bad things happen"
The movie's main conflict is the bros' effort to make a movie. No, really, Vince wants to direct a blockbuster called Hyde, and he's burned through all the money he was allotted. And so we tag along as this band of brothers, along with Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), tries to figure out how to scrape together $8 million more to finish the film.
Hyde becomes a vehicle that attempts to put the movie on the same path as the HBO show that birthed it: that of a insidery, sometimes satirical view on the Hollywood machine. But Entourage's edge and spoofing skills eroded as time wore on, and when the show ended in 2011 after eight seasons, it had become a gluttonous carousel of thin cameos and Ari one-liners rather than anything with a sharp point of view.
Unfortunately, the movie is in lockstep with where the show left off.
Raising money for a movie is one of the dopiest First World problems I can think of. It's not like Vince or his crew are saving lives or answering to a family who depends on them. And they don't face any real consequences other than a lot of rich studio heads losing a lot of money that isn't theirs.
Losing money on Hyde is just one of the Entourage movie's many faux dangers, and it's a nod to the world in which Entourage takes place: a world where nothing bad ever happens. There are lots of cars, but there is no traffic in Los Angeles. There is sex, but there are no STDs. There are no condoms, but there aren't any unwanted children. There are fights, but people don't really get hurt. People are drugged with Molly and Viagra cocktails, yet everything is okay. Men can wear cargo shorts that hit below the knee and still get laid. In essence, there is more real, authentic conflict in one episode of Full House than there is in this entire movie.
This toothlessness dulls the film's already weak grasp on reality and, even worse, yields moments where it feels like it's laughing off the privilege of its main characters or their passing misogyny.
Clearly, the bros have no possible repercussions to worry about. And in cases where you know how everything is going to turn out in the end (see: San Andreas), the ride had better be fun. But even with its many poreless, topless women and jokes about E's height, the Entourage movie is not fun.
The Entourage movie is an earnest, dated look at celebrity culture
In the world of Entourage, celebrities are a lot like Beetlejuice: if you say someone's name three times, other people automatically know who you're talking about. And in this movie, the name "Emily Ratajkowski" is mentioned over and over again.
In real life, Emily Ratajkowski is better known as the brunette model in Robin Thicke's music video for "Blurred Lines." In the Entourage movie, she's more famous, as everyone seems to know who she is. However, people constantly refer to her as "Emily Ratajkowski" (as in, "Hey, that's Emily Ratajkowski!"), which raises the question: if she's so famous, why must we constantly be reminded of her full name? Is she famous for being the "Blurred Lines" fly girl in fake Hollywood? What kind of career does Emily Ratajkowski have in fake Hollywood?
The film's obsession with Emily Ratajkowski is just one of the ways Entourage shows its age. It still operates with a 2011 view of celebrity, where there's only one kind of fame and only one method of consuming celebrity culture.
Social media is all but absent, save for one throwaway line about a hashtag. Instead, the citizens of Entourage get their celebrity news fix from network news magazine interviews with Piers Morgan (this is not a joke). What's more, their fake Hollywood is also home to a puzzling meritocracy where people who do good work get rewarded.
The Entourage movie is an idealistic, earnest look at Hollywood that feels out of touch in this day and age of Sony's leaked emails and Oscar disenchantment. Everything is going to be all right, it keeps reminding us. But there doesn't seem to be any point if nothing ever goes wrong.