I had never seen the show, but knew that Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) was the typical over-the-top, narcissistic agent to an A-list actor that has an entourage. Lucky for me and those that don’t know these characters, we get the most common way to introduce them to the crowd – backstory exposition courtesy of a talk show (not sure why they went with Piers Morgan, since he hasn’t been around for awhile).
A quick recap on TV shows that ended up with movies. As a fan of The Simpsons, I was a bit disappointed with The Simpsons Movie.
As a huge fan of Sex and the City, I was horribly disappointed in those movies. It surprised me that the female friends I have that liked them. It makes me think that for many, if you love the characters that are already established, spending more time with them is a welcome thing. Even if the scripts are bad. That’s where it lies with this movie.
The main guy in the crew is Vince (Adrien Grenier). He’s a big time actor who hangs around with his pals from Queens. Strangely, he never has much of a story arc.
His half-brother Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) is the cliché character that messes everything up. His facial expressions are always humorous and his comic timing perfect. And just as we had fun with the fact that “Birdman” was played by the guy who played Batman, it’s funny that Kevin’s brother Matt is the more famous Hollywood actor in real life.
Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly) is his childhood friend and manager. Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) is his former driver, who turned a booze business into millions.
They immediately flip what happened in the final season of the show, so they can get these characters back to what the fans loved. That means Vince’s marriage is annulled after nine days, and Ari comes out of retirement. Yet he’s not going back to being an agent, but the head of a studio. He wants Vince to be in his first movie, but Vince has bigger aspirations. He wants to also direct. When the $100 million dollar vehicle goes over budget, the story kicks it up a notch.
We get to meet the billionaire Texan financing it. He’s well played by Billy Bob Thornton. He has a ne’er-do-well son, played with good-ole-boy bravado. It’s the kid that once saw dead people – Haley Joel Osment. He’s a lot of fun as he tries to pick up on girls at a swanky Hollywood party, and later has ideas for the script.
The party scenes will have many women turned off by the misogynistic vibe of the picture. The opening scene has a party on a yacht, where half the women are topless. When Johnny climbs onto the boat and has to have a meeting with Vince, he tells a few women, “Don’t go anywhere.” As he turns his head to see a hippy in a tie-dye shirt and scraggly hair, he adds, “You can leave.”
That line is hysterical, and I had hoped the rest of the movie would be peppered with those kinds of laughs. No such luck.
There’s no denying the fact that Ari is a blast to watch. This megalomaniac is always shouting into his phone, or punching the wall in a psychiatrist’s office. Yet that’s a character that’s been done before, and it grows old quick.
Other subplots involve a character awaiting the birth of his child. Actors trying to get parts in a film. Ex-girlfriends creating drama. New girlfriends creating drama. They also get the most overused person in films the last few years – ultimate fighter Ronda Rousey. Her acting is bad, and they write her character in such a way that you can’t possibly like her. That also leads to another complaint. The cameo. It’s often fun to see celebrities pop up playing snarky versions of themselves. Liam Neeson is at a stoplight and yells, “F**k you, Ari!” You smile. Yet after the 20th celebrity walks up, you just roll your eyes (side note: there are over 40). Here’s an example of how you use a celebrity cameo. In A Million Ways to Die in the West, we see Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) in a scene with a DeLorean It was hysterical. Ranks up there as one of the best cameos I’ve ever seen. If Seth MacFarlane had a bunch of western stars walking around the town (Clint Eastwood, etc.)…it wouldn’t be as funny.
Super model Emily Ratajkowski has a decent sized role. The supermodel that was raised in Encinitas and starred in the Blurred Lines video (and had a horribly written part in Gone Girl), isn’t given much to do. She and Vince become a couple, and she often looks bored and not nearly as attractive as she does on the many magazine covers she’s graced.
Any time we get a bit of drama in this film, the next scene will have the bros meeting back up to drink, party, and look at more boobs.
One subplot that isn’t the least bit funny, involves former assistant Lloyd (Rex Lee), who is about to be married to another man (former San Diego diving legend Greg Louganis). He wants Ari to walk him down the aisle, as well as provide the mansion for the reception. Not a single scene they had was funny, and it’s such lazy writing to just throw a bunch of gay jokes out there. None of which were even funny.
The TMZ segment was used nicely and it was fun to hear the Violent Femmes song “Add it Up” (although “Blister in the Sun” would’ve worked better for what was happening on screen).
The entire movie felt like a TV show, not a feature film. A friend of mine that loved the show, also loved this movie…as did many leaving the theatre. It’s a safe bet that all fans of the show will enjoy every second of this. For everyone else, it’ll be mixed results.
This gets 1 ½ stars out of 5 from me.