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Non-Review Review: Entourage

Entourage is surprisingly inoffensive.

It has been four years since HBO’s showbiz comedy went off the air. In many respects, Entourage feels like a class reunion – even to somebody unfamiliar with the source material. There is a lot of affection here, no real sense of tension or stress. Everybody is perfectly comfortable, and the entire film has the feeling of something that everybody involved has been doing for quite some time. Anything that looks like a rough edge has been smoothed off, so the film glides along without any meaningful obstruction.

All at sea...

All at sea…

Entourage is not a great film on its own terms. However, it is not trying to be. Instead, it feels like an affectionate slice of nostalgia. It is telling that most of the cameos in the film tend to nod towards older actors and audiences. At one point, Johnny “Drama” Chase reflects that he was cast in the table read of The West Wing and he finds himself competing for roles against David Faustino of Married With Children. Faustino is just one cast member of Married With Children to cameo. Entourage feels familiar and safe, and entirely comfortable with those attributes.

The result is a functional cinematic adaptation for a show that probably did not need one. The stakes in Entourage never feel particularly high, the characters never seem particularly worried. It seems like Entourage was produced in the same way that it was intended to be enjoyed – in a rather relaxed and cordial fashion, without any real verve or energy.

Going for Gold...

Going for Gold…

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Non-Review Review: Old School

It’s tempting to look back at Old School in the wake of the massive success of The Hangover and claim “I saw Todd Phillips’ potential first!” After all, massive critical, commercial and audience hits don’t come out of nowhere, and the early work of a given director should probably give some indication of their hidden talent. However, I don’t really see too much of The Hangover in Old School, a film that I like, even if I don’t love it. There are a few similarities in content and structure, but I still can’t see anything in the film that would have led to me to “keep an eye” on Phillips. It’s a solid fratboy comedy, but it’s not anywhere near a classic.

Ferrell was on a hot streak when this came out...

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