At this point, to be outraged by the rampant chauvinism in Entourage is to be the frog to writer/director/series creator Doug Ellin’s scorpion, so let’s just take all criticisms of sexism as read (and legitimate) from here – after all, you can understand Ellin’s reluctance to mess with a profitable formula.
What is less easy to comprehend is how the last hurrah for a TV comedy about the unabashed celebration of material success ended up being so flat in every conceivable way. What’s noticeable first is the dull, cheap-looking cinematography, which frequently betrays the illusion of the gang’s lifestyle; what’s supposed to be glitz and glamour looks about as convincing as a display home built by the Bluth Company. Then there’s what smells awfully like a panic edit; the slim 100 minute run time is a fair indicator of why some subplots wither on the vine (Turtle’s dating MMA champ Ronda Rousey for example, is simply never followed up). My guess is 20 minutes or so is going to turn up on an ‘extra-large’ DVD gimmick edition.
But the real weakness is Ellin’s hollow writing, crystallised by the climactic scene (and frankly I couldn’t give a rat’s arse about spoilers on this one, so deal with it or look away now): Ari (Jeremy Piven) has just won the day against oil magnate financier and the plot’s senior antagonist McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton) in front of the rest of the film studio’s board members, saving Vince’s directorial debut masterpiece from – ironically – being mangled in the editing suite by McCredle’s son (Haley Joel Osment), and exposing him for the petty, deal-welching, interfering jerk that he is. But then, in what feels like a Freudian slip of Ellin’s pen, McCredle has the gumption to lecture Ari on business etiquette, something along the lines of “yeah, my boy’s a jerk and an idiot, but you’re using my money so you might at least have pretended to show him some respect.” So in essence, money = license to be as much of an arsehole as you want. But even that’s not the most egregious part: Ari Gold, one of the greatest, most viciously accomplished princes of the putdown – rivalled only by Malcolm Tucker – says nothing. It’s ENTOURAGE’s ‘Greedo fired first’ moment, only it’s happening in the climax of the film. It's an unforgivable letdown, and the few laughs that have been mustered up to that point don’t come anywhere near compensating for it.
Which will leave HBO fans coming out with one important question: how the hell did this get approved and financed while we’re still waiting for the proper, feature-length ending of Deadwood?
ENTOURAGE is released June 4 in Australia, New Zeland and the US, and June 19 in the UK
Oh yeah, the plot. Actually no, fuck it – they couldn’t be bothered so neither can I.