The hit HBO comedy about a movie star and his lackeys has become a boorish exercise in big-screen superficiality

Entourage had its time and its place – on the small screen, between 2004 and (if we're really being generous) 2011. HBO’s LA comedy series was loosely based on the early career breaks of executive producer Mark Wahlberg, the actor formerly known as Marky Mark, then as an underwear model, and then a pushy wannabe on the Hollywood party circuit.

When A-list opportunities arrived, he brought to LA a loyal coterie of male friends from his days on the wrong side of the tracks in Boston. Their flailing efforts to make him a star, and bask in the reflected glory of his celebrity, was the pith of every episode made.

What gave the show its mileage was the desperation that goes hand in hand with trying this hard to make it in Hollywood. These felt like no-hopers, jokers, not millionaires in waiting. You watched them fail, and fail again, and still inch their way up the ladder through a series of sheer flukes.

After eight successful if downward-spiralling seasons, the concept hasn’t just run completely dry. In Doug Ellin’s feature-length spin-off, it feels starkly and cynically exposed. Entourage is no dagger to the underbelly of LA’s superficiality, vapid celebrity worship or false promises – it never was, of course. It now feels like a garish, laddish, doltish celebration of everything most depressing in contemporary Hollywood. There are those who might be able to dredge up enough loyalty to the brand to appreciate this victory lap. But, as the show's own characters regularly prove, there’s loyalty and there’s blind devotion. Enough is enough.

Sketchy A-list star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) has reached the point where he can commandeer his own franchise, a future-dystopian spin on RL Stevenson called Hyde, and even insist on directing it. His manager E, who used to be played with a short guy’s appealing self-deprecation by Kevin Connolly, has more or less sold his soul to the high life, sharkish promiscuity and all: his ex-girlfriend (poor Emmanuelle Chriqui) is pregnant, but he’s fooling around with anyone going. Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) is about a third of his original weight, and has made untold millions with his tequila business. And Vincent’s half-brother Drama (Kevin Dillon) is the same tragic, deluded parasite, but not in a funny way, at all.

All this catch-up session has on its mind is wealth, re-upping stardom and girls in bikinis, with no irony and barely a glint of wit directed towards those obsessions. The first line of the script is about masturbation, and it might as well be every line, for all the memorable quips Ellin and Rob Weiss serve up. Their tonal skill makes the Inbetweeners films look like top-end Ernst Lubitsch.

Even Jeremy Piven, as Vince’s grossly self-serving, perpetually furious agent Ari Gold – now so powerful he runs a studio – is deprived of any good material. Piven has painted himself into the corner of being so horribly convincing at this role, it’s hard to imagine him performing anything but variations on it for ever more.

But there’s hardly a moment where he scores an honest laugh here, because Ari’s tantrums and manipulations have entirely run their course. The character as written – unlike Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It, say – has become an empty quiver of insults.

The film’s cameos have the feel of shrug-worthy favours Ellin is calling in, except in the case of Piers Morgan, whose smirking presence as himself is a favour to literally no one. Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment occupy a pointless, time-filling subplot as Texas money men, whose protection of their investment in Hyde blinds them to whether it’s any good or not.

What we see of this alleged blockbuster makes it look like a bad parody of something by Alex (The Crow) Proyas, all warehouse raves and brooding in hoodies. But every character we’re supposed to trust insists it’s amazing, the real deal. If Entourage wanted to paint Hollywood as a sexist circle of hell where taste is non-existent and frat-boy philistinism reigns supreme, that’s a goal thoroughly achieved. Just don’t ask us to join in the high-fives.