You know its been quite a few years since I have written a movie review, but let me see if I can dredge up some of my favorite film critique techniques to offer some wise gleanings on the “bromantic comedy” (an industry term), Entourage. Clearly, the masses are awaiting this Rabbi’s review!
For viewers like myself, Entourage, the TV series, was a guilty pleasure, that despite the occasional raunchiness and over-the-top “sexcapades” (another industry term), was a thoroughly enjoyable HBO-produced 23 minutes. To go to Hollywood and bring your best friends along, to succeed together and to fail together, all the while living it up on a wing and a prayer, made anyone who is a dreamer, love the ride (the Maserati Quattroporte seen in the end of each opening credits was my favorite).
However, as a Facebook friend of mine just posted after having read that I had just seen the movie, “I loved the show…worried about the movie). As heavily laden as Entourage is with sex, drugs and Jane’s Addiction, my favorite part of the TV series and the movie is its appeal to the depths of friendship. The willingness of friends to never sell each other out, even at risk of losing a girl, a film or a billion dollars, is perhaps the most endearing aspect of this “novella.” Be it Ari Gold’s unwavering loyalty to his wife despite his often vulgar, super-agent personality, the series’ and the film’s commitment to the existence of an ethical code that supersedes all else is what kept me coming back for more. With often great bravado and a little too much self-awareness, Entourage deals with friendship, the meaning of commitment, the struggle to grow up, the yearning to be accepted, the inner demons that often attack our best natures, family, gay marriage, failure and the infinite potential for redemption. And through it all, the viewer gets to imagine not just what it might be like to be a super star or a part of his entourage but as well, how committed might I be to an ethical standard when surrounded by so much temptation?
As anyone who reads my blog knows, for me, its all Torah, everywhere you look. Even movies. Even Entourage. Above and beyond the fact that Ari Gold somehow finds God in this feature-length Entourage universe, the film reminds me of a teaching from Hillel, b’makom sh-ayn anashim, hishtadel lihiyot ish, In a place where no one is acting like a mensch, be a mensch. I know it is an overblown statement to suggest that the boys of Entourage set an example for the rest of us to follow. Nonetheless, the message of Entourage is that its never an acceptable excuse to blame your actions on your environment. At the end of the day, its only ourselves with whom we go to sleep.
(Now, I do have to say, regardless of whatever lessons one might glean, Entourage would not be the most comfortable film to watch with one’s even-teenage children as the “R” rating is VERY accurate. Personally, this isn’t one of those “R” ratings that might be OK to let your 13-year old watch. It is very racy, very unapologetic and very graphic.)
Entourage is no Oscar or Golden Globe contender (even as Vincent Chase’s fictional film Hyde turns out to be) and one should not buy a ticket for it if he thinks he is about to be treated to a 21st century version of American Graffiti. But, for kicks and giggles, a trip down memory lane if you were an Entourage junkie, and a reminder that an ethical standard can be found in every corner of existence, it’s a great way to spend 104 minutes.
Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss-Ebert at your service