Vince and the boys might want to move back to Queens after all.
That was always the backup plan for the bros of "Entourage" — movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), hapless older brother Johnny (Kevin Dillon), trusted manager E (Kevin Connolly) and loyal sidekick Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) — should their Hollywood luck run out.
And as the quartet makes the real-life leap to the big screen in writer-director Doug Ellin's continuation of the HBO series, movie critics are panning the "Entourage" movie as shallow, cynical and outdated.
The Times' Mark Olsen writes, "Whether created because of fan service or contractual obligation, the movie has none of the fizz of the earliest of the series' eight seasons, and watching it summons that vague blank familiarity of discovering a show you used to watch is unexpectedly still on the air."
The film's biggest stumbling block, Olsen adds, "is its self-satisfied, dismissive attitude toward anyone outside its main circle, in particular women, who are depicted almost exclusively as nags, scolds, schemers or ornamentation. That the bonds of friendship between Vince and his pals are predicated so strongly on excluding others feels regressive and drags the movie away from harmless high jinks into something needlessly more spiteful and ugly."
The New York Times' A.O. Scott says, "By the time it reached the end of its HBO run in 2011, 'Entourage' had grown staler than last night's Axe body spray. The passing of a few more years has not improved the aroma. Watching the movie is like finding an ancient issue of a second-tier lad mag — not even Maxim, but Loaded or Nuts — in a friend's guest bathroom. You wonder how it got there. You wonder how you got there."
Scott also writes, "You could accuse ['Entourage'] of glamorizing the shallow hedonism it depicts, but that charge would only stick if the movie had any genuine flair, romance or imagination."
The Washington Post's Ann Hornaday similarly says, "Very little has changed in the 'Entourage' universe, whose gravitational pull is a gaseous mix of booze, weed, overcompensating cars and the pervading funk of sexual anxiety and conquest. When women aren't being idolized as ingenues, models and baby mamas, they're being degraded as wifely scolds and objects of leering lust — on the part of Ellin's T&A-obsessed camera — and outright contempt, by way of [Dillon's character] Drama's startlingly nasty asides."
Meanwhile, Hornaday writes, Jeremy Piven "earns the only legit interest or laughs" as the fire-breathing agent-turned-studio-chief Ari Gold.
The Boston Globe's Peter Keough says "Entourage" has "all the class of 'Grown Ups 2.' It resurrects a macho churlishness and puerile wish fulfillment that is less charming now than it was back when the show went off the air in 2011. At a time when such documentaries as 'The Hunting Ground' expose the toll these attitudes take, such humor seems, at best, dated."
The film, Keough continues, "is stuck in the inconsequential rut of the series. The characters are static, and the comedy is situational rather than dramatic. No wonder [producer and series inspiration Mark] Wahlberg, who drops by with his real-life retinue, makes a quick exit."
Will no one come to "Entourage's" defense? A few reviewers have refrained from panning the film outright, such as the Village Voice's Lara Zarum. She writes that "the movie, like the HBO series that spawned it, is hardly a slog. It may be not much more than a heavily branded romp through a Hollywood fantasyland, but it's got a pulse. It's easy fun. No one ever died from reading People magazine."
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