Entourage movie closes book on HBO’s smash series
Smartly sticking to the winning formula that (mostly) kept fans entertained for eight solid seasons, Entourage is a fitting hilarious curtain call for the beloved HBO series.
The movie plays out essentially like a streamlined ninth season. To some fans, that may prove disappointing if they were expecting the film version to be a radical departure from the series — although why they would is a better question. The film isn’t very friendly to new audiences either, but that’s to be expected for a series that lasted for eight years.
For those fans who have been on the ride since its start in 2004, Entourage delivers exactly what you’d expect — a great soundtrack, stupidly extravagant toys, scorching hot women and an unshakable bond between friends living out their wildest dreams.
The biggest downside is that Director/Writer Doug Ellin opts to simply hit the reset button undoing the well-earned happy ending from the series finale. Superstar actor Vince (Adrian Grenier) is divorced and back to living out the life every 15- to 45-year-old man’s fantasy with a hot girl like ‘Blurred Lines’ video babe Emily Ratajkowski eager to date him.
Ari (Jeremy Piven) is returning from his overseas destination home to run a studio with the assurance to his wife (Perrey Reeves) that he won’t let his work dominate their relationship again. Vince’s brother, Drama (Kevin Dillon), is still looking for his big break while E (Kevin Connolly) and a very pregnant Sloane (Emmanuelle Chriqui) are back to the will they/won’t they drama after yet another hurdle in their relationship. Of the gang, only Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) has managed to cut total dependency on Vince thanks to his multimillion vodka deal.
Ellin probably took the easy way out by putting the characters back into familiar, comfortable positions instead of showing the gang trying to get Vince’s career back on top despite the new challenges of marriage and raising a family in Hollywood. But the show was always about an escape from the real world so that goes double for a film version. Let E, Vince and the boys worry about all that pesky adult messiness and responsibility in the next movie. Ellin’s script and crazy scenarios sets up some big time laughs and that’s all that’s necessary in any Entourage outing.
Vince is ready for his next project, but he wants to make his directorial debut, which could threaten Ari’s fledgling empire as the financiers are wondering if Vince is blowing their money. To help keep costs down, financier Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton) sends his son, Travis (Haley Joel Osment), to screen the film and determine if it’s worth their investment. Travis soon proves to be a bigger problem than anything the gang has handled before and their careers are at stake if they can’t work with him.
Although the film would just about cover three episodes, it’s got a full season’s worth of celebrity cameos to the extent it becomes a bit distracting trying to spot everyone on screen. That overstuffed lineup includes Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, Jim Gray, T.I., Piers Morgan, Pharrell Williams, Ed O’Neill, Kelsey Grammer, Liam Neeson and even Warren Buffett. Recurring stars like Bob Saget, Andrew Dice Clay, Gary Busey and Jessica Alba were fun to see, but I’d have been just as happy ditching the others so the film wasn’t such a ‘spot the celeb’ spectacle. Fortunately fan favorites like Billy (Rhys Coiro), Dana Gordon (Constance Zimmer), Shauna (Debi Mazar) and Lloyd (Rex Lee) get a decent supporting roles.
Similar to later seasons, Ellin attempts to give E, Drama and Turtle their own subplots to mixed results. Turtle’s attempts to woo MMA fighter Ronda Rousey (Furious 7) was just kinda there to give him something to do while Drama’s link to the overall plot was far more entertaining. E’s subplot provides some of the film’s biggest laughs even if we know all roads lead to Sloane.
Despite the occasional hiccup, the film is immensely satisfying whenever Piven unleashes one of his scene-stealing Ari-sized salvo or when the main four are playing off their terrific chemistry and palling around like lifelong friends enjoying the good life.
Entourage is less a feature film and more a super-sized episode. The show has always been about a good time with your boys and the film can hardly be faulted for never losing sight of its original concept. I can’t see how fans of the show would be anything less than satisfied with the film as it’s more of what they loved in the first place.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pics credit: Claudette Barius/Warner Bros. Pictures