"I don't have enough time for this sh*t," footballer Thierry Henry is heard murmuring early on during the big-screen version of the HBO comedy series Entourage. His is only one of a bewildering number of pointless celebrity cameos running throughout the film. Sex and status are what drive the heroes, movie star Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his best friends. The tone is set at the outset as the pals are seen on a speedboat, racing toward a huge yacht on which there is a hedonistic party taking place with dozens of bikini-clad (and bikini-less women). "Where did you find all the hotties?" they ask in near rapture when they finally arrive in what to them is close to paradise.
Entourage is sometimes described as Sex and the City for men. Its sense of humour, though, is like that of Nineties British lads' mags, even if the luxurious settings are a long way removed from the world of Nuts and Loaded. One of its stranger elements is the way it celebrates the more grotesque aspects of Hollywood that other film-makers (Robert Altman in The Player, David Cronenberg in Maps to the Stars) have set out to satirise. It's a paean to social climbing, back-stabbing and extreme narcissism. In its own shameless, unreconstructed way, the film version is sometimes very funny. It is also crude and relentlessly chauvinistic.
The plot hinges on Vince's attempts to make a big-budget movie, his first as director, for the new studio boss (and his old agent) Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven). The film is spiralling over budget and its investors, yokel Texas father and son tycoons Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment, are threatening to pull the plug. Piven is by far the film's most dynamic and entertaining presence, especially when he is angry, which thankfully is pretty much all of the time.