HBO // 2010 // 285 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Patrick Bromley // August 4th, 2011
Enjoy the ride.
During my time at DVD Verdict, I have wound up reviewing almost every single season of the HBO series Entourage, a show I enjoyed and defended for a few seasons before being completely worn down, disheartened, annoyed and, eventually, exhausted. While reviewing the last season of the show (Season Six), I suggested that the show had overstayed its welcome and that I was entirely out of things to say.
I spoke too soon.
In its seventh (and penultimate) season, Entourage is so far out of ideas that it's almost amazing the writers are able to squeeze out 10 30-minute episodes. I am astounded by what this show thinks that I will care about. Does movie star Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier, The Devil Wears Prada) have a drug problem? Does he have jealousy issues about his new girlfriend, porn star Sasha Grey (playing porn star Sasha Grey)? Will Turtle (Jerry Ferrara, Brooklyn Rules) be able to launch a new tequila company? Will Eric (Kevin Connolly, He's Just Not That Into You) get back with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui, Elektra Luxx) again? Will Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon, Poseidon) agree to be the voice of a cartoon character? You couldn't force me to care at gunpoint. An entire dramatic arc hinges on Vincent Chase cutting his hair. None of the characters have really changed after seven seasons on the air, and hardly anything that happens this season is driven or affected by who these characters are. Eric, who used to be our gateway into the ridiculous world of movie stardom and Hollywood life, is relegated to the sidelines, trapped in a story that goes nowhere and has already been done on the show before. Vincent Chase, in particular, has really never been a character. Think about it: what do we know about him as a person other than that he is very famous and likes to hang out with his friends and party and sleep with models? This season, the writers of Entourage attempt to suggest there is a character there by giving him a drug problem. That's a plot point (and not a very compelling one), not the makings of a human being we care about or can identify with.
Here are the episodes that make up Season Seven...* "Stunted"
* "Tequila Sunrise"
* "Bottoms Up"
* "Tequila and Coke"
* "Sniff Sniff Gang Bang"
* "Porn Scenes from an Italian Restaurant"
* "Lose Yourself"
Seriously, if you don't believe me that Entourage is creatively bankrupt at this point (and this is assuming you found anything "creative" about the show to begin with), just look again at those episode titles. They're embarrassingly on the nose and incredibly douchey in their own self-satisfied cleverness. Turtle's upstart tequila company is a plot point for the season, so the word "tequila" gets worked into not one but two episodes. Many of the show titles are puns or plays on Vince's drug problem. Then we get to the porn star stuff, which feels like Entourage at its most misogynistic -- which is saying a lot, since the show has always been pretty misogynistic. There's something unsettling about the show's views towards women and sex, and never has that been more apparent than with the inclusion of porn star Sasha Grey in a recurring character arc. I'm not opposed to the show casting an actual adult film star to play herself (though she remains as stiff and robotic as she was in Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience, but in that movie it made sense as a character choice), but Entourage seems awfully impressed with itself for doing so (further evidenced in the supplementary section of the Blu-ray). Because Grey's "character" owns her own promiscuousness, it's OK for the show to put all of its latent attitudes about female sexuality on her and wash their hands of it. The whole thing feels kind of icky, and none of that is the fault of Sasha Grey.
This is the first season of Entourage that I've reviewed on Blu-ray, and the show is well-suited to the format. The sun-soaked LA settings look very good in 1080p HD, with strong detail and bright, vibrant images. The lossless DTS-HD audio track does a nice job balancing the dialogue with the bass-heavy soundtrack, always a staple of the show. It's not a series that makes many sonic demands, but the Blu-ray's audio handles everything well. Like on most past season sets of Entourage, there aren't a whole lot of bonus features, and what features make the discs are mostly of the self-congratulatory, promotional variety. We get the requisite "making of" featurette, in which the cast and crew can gush about how awesome it is to be on a show that shoots around all the LA hot spots and all the great celebrities who make cameos. We get the Sasha Grey featurette, "The Shades of Sasha Grey." And we get commentaries on three episodes: "Hair," "Porn Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" and "Lose Yourself," featuring varying combinations of cast and crew including creator Doug Ellin, actors Jeremy Piven, Jerry Ferrara, Adrien Grenier and Kevin Connolly and producer Ally Musika. Their conversations are genial and upbeat, lacking in the substance arena but often more enjoyable than the episodes on which they are commenting, if only because their goofing and camaraderie doesn't feel totally forced the way it now does on Entourage.
The eighth and final season of Entourage has just gotten under way on HBO, and the end couldn't come soon enough. What once used to be an entertaining bit of Sunday night escapism has become a smug and utterly self-indulgent drag. Just because your show is about life in a superficial town does not mean that your show has to be totally superficial. Stop assuming that your audience is invested in your show enough after seven seasons on the air that they'll care about haircuts and prenups and porn stars. Entourage was once a show about life in a town full of douchebags. Now, it's a show about douchebags.
Review content copyright © 2011 Patrick Bromley; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (French)
* DTS 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 285 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episode Commentaries
* Official Site