A film largely crippled by its own marketing, which gave the strong impression audiences were already supposed to be familiar with the main characters, and The Red Dragon for one had taken to thinking they were probably members of some awful boy band/reality TV show. In fact, this is the big-screen version of Doug Ellin’s (who returns as writer and director) comedy-drama TV series which ran from 2004 – 2011 on HBO, but the assumption of familiarity continues throughout the beginning of the film with precious little in the way of character introduction and it’s really difficult to care much about rich Hollywood B listers Vince (Adrian Grenier), Eric (Kevin Connolly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Drama (Kevin Dillon – brother of Matt, which you can see a mile off), especially when they make a joke whilst on a yacht, just after the intro, in reference to Natalie Wood (renowned actress Wood having famously drowned under mysterious circumstances whilst on a boat trip with her then husband Robert Wagner in 1981, indeed the case was reopened a few years ago after the captain of the boat changed his original testimony). Not cool.
More gags in dubious taste follow and the inclusion of Piers Morgan in several scenes adds to the somewhat illegitimate feeling that underpins much of the movie as the fabric of the story is set in place – the four take on the reins of a new blockbuster thanks to the machinations of their long term pal and manager Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), their manager who then has to spend the rest of the film trying to keep the project on the go as everyone begins to doubt the boys’ credibility and we meet a raft of silver screen faces in tiny cameos in the process. The central four form the titular entourage with the premise being their bond will see them through all their difficulties and although the acting and chemistry between the four is for the most part non-existent, the film at least tries to put the focus on the comedy and eventually, due in large part to Piven, some of the jokes do find their mark and it begins to carry more weight. It never manages to atone for its many sins though.