Review Drama comedy
103 minutes/now showing/1/5
The story: The end of the final season of the TV series in 2011 left the characters riding high. But things are far less upbeat now. Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier) needs more money to finish the movie he is directing, but new studio boss and Vince's former manager Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) has to quell rumours that the project is in trouble. Members of Chase's inner circle, meanwhile, have to deal with problems caused mainly by their sleeping with the wrong women.
There might have been a time when the HBO series that spawned this movie was moderately self-aware and perhaps even mildly satirical of the Hollywood lifestyle.
But if it ever was that, all traces of it are gone and what is left is this - a montage of Playboy or Maxim soft-core photoshoots, a bro-medy with a lot of bro and precious little comedy, and name-dropping in the form of celebrity cameos far more shameless than the brand buzz- marketing in any Sex And The City movie.
Who knew that a movie aimed at men would be so insecure about itself that it would need to flaunt its Rolodex of famous friends? Come to think of it, perhaps this work knows more about the male psyche than it is letting on.
The cavalcade of star walk-ons has the unintended effect of making insignificant the core crew, comprising Vince (Grenier), Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Eric (Kevin Connolly).
It turns them into gawkers, just like the rest of us. So why are we watching these schmucks when we can watch a real movie with those real stars?
The only uplift happens in the scenes featuring Piven as Ari Gold, the volatile agent- turned-studio chief. His body language and line readings crackle with energy. An actor who is funniest when he is angriest, Piven steals the show every time his Ari tears into a hapless victim and, thankfully, the script gives him plenty of chances to deliver Ari rants.
Again, like the cameos, Piven's Grade A input only makes the rest of the movie look malnourished. A thoroughly implausible romance between Turtle and MMA fighter Ronda Rousey vanishes mid-thread, as does a dalliance between Vince and actress Emily Ratajkowski.
Note that the R21 film has a snip courtesy of the censors, of a scene featuring lesbian sex (you will know which scene when you see it, the cut is obvious). Not that its inclusion would have improved this movie by much.
The film tries hard to make the crew likeable by saying that, yes, these men are emotionally stunted buffoons, but they are emotionally stunted buffoons who are loyal to one another, so that makes it okay. No, it does not.