Entertainment (2015) – Review

A broken, middle-aged comedian (Gregg Turkington) attempts to revive his dwindling career by playing a handful of dead-end comedy sets in the Californian desert, while on the way to meet his estranged daughter. I think it’s safe to say that Entertainment won’t be a film for everyone, but this slow-burn drama has an appealing cast and some easy on the eye cinematography to make it almost watchable on the whole – certainly not one I’ll be recommending, however.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Director: Rick Alverson
Writers: Rick Alverson, Gregg Turkington, Tim Heidecker
Starring: Gregg Turkington, Tye Sheridan, John C. Riley, Michael Cera

Never have I watched a movie with such an ironic title – Entertainment managed to not only leave a bitter taste in my mouth after watching the flick, but also leave me confused as to why I’d devoted one-hundred and three minutes of my life to the 2015 release, a film littered with bleak and miserable undertones from the first minute until the last.

One strong saving grace, however, had to be the cinematography and production value of the flick in general. The filmmakers managed to showcase some beautiful American landscapes, with the vast majority of the movie being filmed in California, exploring a multitude of different bars and social settings out in the Mojave Desert area of the state.

Humour also played a large role in this one, but it wasn’t for everyone that’s for sure. At times it was dark and extremely unsettling, with most scenes being filled with an unnerving sense of intrigue and suspense, only for very little to actually occur. The main characters, who themselves weren’t particularly likeable, relied heavily on cheap and vulgar jokes, even resorting to tasteless insults at certain stages. It could also be argued that the nature of these scenes became repetitive as the film wore on too.

In terms of the surprisingly solid cast, Gregg Turkington adopted the lead role, spearheading most scenes, while Tye Sheridan portrayed Eddie, but sadly warranted little screen time throughout the film – something I felt was a shame upon watching the picture. Elsewhere, John C. Riley and Michael Cera were two of the more well-known actors that played supporting roles, starring as John and Tommy respectively, but again, neither warranting a large chunk of screen time.

Overall, Entertainment may not be at the front of the queue when it comes to jaw droppingly exciting and suspenseful dramas, but if slow burns, with elements of dark and sadistic humour are more your thing, then this one may be worth a shot.

“That’s what it’s all about folks, having fun.”

The Comedian – Entertainment

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