June 5, 2015 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Jeremy Piven, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly
Directed by: Doug Ellin (“Kissing a Fool”)
Written by: Doug Ellin (“Phat Beach”)

Despite being in a golden age of television, the notion persists that the ultimate goal of any TV series that comes to an end – either in a natural wrap-up or early cancellation – is to be turned into a movie.  At times it’s akin to re-animating the dead, dragging characters and plotlines that ran their course back into action to dance for us one more time, whether or not the era the show thrived in has long passed and it exhausted all possible stories during its initial run. Case in point: “Entourage,” the film adaptation of the HBO show of the same name (that ran for eight seasons!) arrives in theaters with a wet thud, like someone tossing a well-thumbed, vodka-soaked copy of Maxim magazine from 2005 with cover girl Brittany Murphy onto the floor next to their dead Motorola RAZR flip phone.

“Entourage” opens on a luxury yacht in Ibiza (because of course it does) after the marriage of Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) dissolves after nine days. The titular entourage, featuring manager Eric (Kevin Connolly, or E for short), formerly fat driver Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and B-list buffoon brother Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), arrive to find a re-energized Vince looking to star in and direct his next movie. The boys convince him to reach out to sort-of retired super-agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) in order to make it happen. We fast forward eight months to Vince and Erik having to ask studio head Ari (how?) for $15 million more to finish their make-or-break gritty adaptation of “Jekyll and Hyde.” Ari has to fly to Texas to ask for more money from an oil financier (Billy Bob Thornton) and his lecherous son (Haley Joel Osment), who travels back to L.A. with Ari to oversee if his daddy’s money is being put to good use. Meanwhile E is about to have a baby with on-again, off-again girlfriend Sloan, skinny Turtle has made a fortune off a tequila brand and is trying to date UFC fighter Rhonda Rousey (playing herself with varying degrees of success) and Johnny Drama is being humiliated by a video of him masturbating over FaceTime to a married woman, or something.

Sloppy and indifferent, the movie version of “Entourage” plays like a compressed ninth season of a cable show that stopped having interesting things to say in Season 4. The bros are rich douches who have sex with the hottest girls in L.A., drive around in cool cars, and awkwardly name-drop their famous friends as they stop by for quick, pointless cameos. As hot-headed Ari Gold, Piven was long the lone bright spot in the show as it went steadily downhill, but his plot in this movie makes no sense. He goes from being retired to embattled studio head in eight months with his first $100 million movie threatening to end his career? Please.

Director/screenwriter Doug Ellin – who also created the TV series – seems to be the only person in the world nostalgic for 2004, when slick bros straight out of cologne-scented lad mags were the hottest guys in the room and you could still think it was fucking hilarious that two gay dudes wanted to get married. Can you believe it, bro?! Bros marrying bros! Get fucked, “Entourage.”

The Goods

August 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, James Brolin
Directed by: Neal Brennan (debut)
Written by: Andy Stock (“Balls Out”) and Rick Stempson (“Balls Out”)

It’s almost endearing how hard Jeremy Piven fights to make the new comedy “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard” work. While the star of HBO’s “Entourage” tries to carry the film on his shoulders, his new batch of friends – unlike the ones he has on TV – never seem to have his back.

In “The Goods,” Piven plays Don Ready, a used-car liquidator so slick he can talk a stewardess into allowing him to smoke midair. Don is hired by used-car lot owner Ben Selleck (James Brolin) to come in and reenergize his struggling business before they’re bought out by competitors. With his team of misfits in tow – Jibby (Ving Rhames), Brent (David Koechner), and Babs (Kathryn Hahn) – the fearless foursome charge into Temecula, California for a three-day Fourth of July sale that will either make or break the lot.

While the story is set interestingly enough at a car lot, screenwriters Andy Stock and Rick Stempson – whose only other film is the straight-to-DVD movie “Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach” – don’t get to the core of the industry and fail to make the dealership feel authentic.

The laughs are sparse in “The Goods” with most of them coming from actor Craig Robinson (“Pineapple Express”) who plays a strip club DJ hired by Don to keep the lot upbeat for the entire weekend. He refuses, however, to play any music the customers or employees want to hear although his name is DJ Request. Will Ferrell also has a small cameo, which is always the best way to experience Ferrell’s comedic contributions.

The rest of the secondary characters are written with little enthusiasm. Jibby spends most of the movie talking about how he’s never experienced making love to a woman; Brent does nothing more than fend off homosexual advances from Ben; and Babs tries to seduce 10-year-old boy trapped in the body of a 40-year-old man.

While Piven tries to hold it all together in his first lead role in about 15 years, Stock and Stempson act like used-car salesmen themselves and talk a big game before offering us something that sputters and dies long before it even leaves the show room floor.