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dir-scr Doug Ellin
prd Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Rob Weiss
with Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Haley Joel Osment, Billy Bob Thornton, Rex Lee, Emily Ratajkowski, Ronda Rousey, Rhys Coiro
release US 3.Jun.15, UK 19.Jun.15
15/US Warner 1h44
Party interrupted: Grenier, Dillon, Ferrara and Connolly
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Just four years after the laddish TV show finished its eight-year run, the entire cast is back for a movie romp that feels more like a compressed ninth season than an actual film. But fans will love reconnecting with these guys for another hilariously knowing dip into the insane inner workings of Hollywood.
So Vince (Grenier) wastes no time getting back into his partying ways after his short-lived marriage. Feeling reborn, he decides he now wants to direct a movie, so he turns to former agent Ari (Piven), who's now a studio head and backs his project, with pest pal Eric (Connolly) as producer. But the Texan financier (Thornton) sends his smug son (Osment) to Hollywood to keep an eye on the movie, and he has his own ideas. Meanwhile, Vince's big brother Johnny (Dillon) hopes a small role in the film will finally give him a break.
Amid all of this, these men hold a variety of raucous parties and continue their rocky relationship history. Ari is in marriage counselling due his inability to keep work and home separate; Eric's ex (Chriqui) is giving birth to their child as he goes through a series of new women; Vince's friendship with swimsuit model Emily Ratajkowski causes unexpected problems; and Turtle pursues tough-girl MMA champ-turned-actress Ronda Rousey.
Yes, writer-director Ellin has a great time blurring the lines between the fictional characters and real-world show business, packing scenes with so many big-name cameos that we don't always know where to look. Some are riotously funny (including sweary encounters with the likes of Liam Neeson, Jessica Alba and Kelsey Grammer), while others further the thin veneer of satire (a run-in with Mark Wahlberg and his own entourage). Ellin also directs the film with a real swagger, charging through a rapid-paced series of madcap mini-adventures with loads of style and attitude.
But break the surface and there isn't much going on here: each character still has one basic note and no arc. This may ramp up the comedy value (boys will be boys!), but it doesn't offer much resonance. But at least the actors manage to remain thoroughly likeable despite their relentless misogynistic leeriness. And the combination of snappy banter and fast-paced plotting keeps the audience smiling right through a series of raucous climaxes that are both amusing and even moving. They also leave the door open for more.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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