Dashing about the small “campus” that is Hollywood’s fast lane — Beverly Hills, Burbank, West L.A., Sunset Strip, even Hollywood itself — the sequence places all the cast and crew credits on various iconic signs, street corners, hot dog stands, fashion boutiques and other familiar sites.
Would that the movie had an equally knowing handle on the town it wants to satirize but winds up merely lionizing in the most insipid manner.
Fans of “Entourage’s” eight-season run on HBO needn’t worry though. It’s more of the same old same old for Vincent Chase & Co. so you should enjoy yourself. For the rest of us … whatever.
The film, written and directed by series creator Doug Ellin, still has a small-screen sensibility. Ellin finds no way to open up his cable format into a real big-screen wonder. And any true insider edginess given way immediately into male wish-fulfillment.
Occasionally, one of the many chock-a-block cameos hits home with force, in particular ones by Armie Hammer, Liam Neeson and Kelsey Grammar, moments where perhaps the “real tinsel” of Tinseltown actually shows through. Those moments are fleeting, however, as very quickly it’s back to pool parities with bikini-clad or topless babes.
While it’s been four years since “Entourage” wrapped, Ellin is not tempted to expand the hermetically sealed world of movie star Vince (Adrian Grenier) and his buddies from the old Queens neighborhood.
This includes his lifelong friend and manager, Eric “E.” Murphy (Kevin Connolly); his B-list-actor older half brother, Johnny “Drama” (Kevin Dillon); driver turned entrepreneur Turtle (Jerry Ferrara); and hotheaded superagent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven).
Sure, the opening sequence takes place on a luxury yacht “off the coast of Ibiza” but that could’ve been filmed off the coast of Catalina. Ari has quit the agency business only to find himself back among the players as a studio head. His first project is snared by his ex-client, Vince.
Oh, but Vince wants to direct. Ari lets him and the rest of the movie is fraught with the not -so-high drama of whether Vince can bring in a $100 million movie on budget, on schedule and looking anything like a franchise hit.
The answers to this are no, no and … well, no one has seen the final cut. Really? Not even his friend, the studio head who greenlit the movie? All semblance to the real Hollywood fades to black at this point.
Invited to a beach party-cum-cast and crew screening for “Hyde,” as the movie is called, is the son of its chief financier (Billy Bob Thornton), a good-old-boy Texan with a hillbilly vibe played very well by Haley Joel Osment.
He doesn’t like the movie much and suggests some changes that form the crux of the dramatic matter of “Entourage,” to the extent that anything at all is at stake in a movie that seems much more concerned with the boys’ next hook-ups with Hollywood tarts.
It might have been of interest to get insight into Vince’s directorial methods and what he might do with $100 million. All that is briefly glimpsed though (with cinematographer Steven Fierberg altering the visual landscape of this movie dramatically) is a futuristic fantasy build around the Jekyll and Hyde story starring Vince as a hoodie-wearing deejay with super powers.
There is some off-putting comic melodrama surrounding E.’s pregnant ex, Sloan (Emmanuella Chriqui), and the many other women E., in the immortal words of Leonard Cohen, “just had to meet without your clothes.”
Vince and Turtle are paired up without much logic or excitement with supermodel Emily Ratajkowski and Ultimate Fighting Championships bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey, respectively, although with the kicker that these ladies are playing themselves in relationships with fictional characters.
Rex Lee returns as Ari’s former assistant, Lloyd, although the scenes lack bite since he mostly is seen on telephones and video chats planning his wedding (with long out-of-the-closet Olympic diver Greg Louganis as his intended).
People come and go with alarming rapidity, as the producers must make room for series regulars not to mention whatever celebrities happened to be in L.A. during the shoot for quicksilver cameos.
You soon realize little of this really matters. Nor are the hook-ups and eventual box office success of “Hyde” likely to have any lasting impact on anyone in this entourage.
My suggestion is this: For “Entourage: Day of Doom” let “Hyde” bomb and see what happens if that old bromide “You’ll never work in his town again” actually comes true.
Let Vince cut his price to zero for a 20-year-old indie filmmaker hoping to get into Sundance. Let Ari become the new Mike Ovitz, scorned rather than feared. Let Turtle, E. and the rest of the clan find no one can get dates since they’re has-beens who treated women like dogs. And let Liam Neeson, Armie Hammer et al actually mean those nasty putdowns.
Now you’re talking about a real Hollywood satire with a sharp edge. You know, like “The Player.”
Opens: June 3, 2015 (Warner Bros.)
Production companies: Warner Bros. Pictures in association with Home Box Office and RatPac-Dune Entertainment presents a Closest to the Hole/ Leverage Entertainment production
Cast: Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven, Billy Bob Thornton, Haley Joel Osment, Perrey Reeves, Emmanuella Chriqui, Rhys Coiro, Debi Mazar, Rex Lee, Constance Zimmer, Ronda Rousey, Emily Ratajkowski
Director/screenwriter: Doug Ellin
Story by: Doug Ellin & Rob Weiss
Producers: Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Doug Ellin
Executive producer: Wayne Carmona
Director of photography: Steven Fierberg
Production designer: Chase Harlan
Costume designer: Olivia Miles
Editor: Jeff Groth
R rating, 104 minutes