Synopsis – Movie star Vincent Chase, together with his boys Eric, Turtle, and Johnny, are back – and back in business with super agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold on a risky project that will serve as Vince’s directorial debut.
My Take – As a fan of the HBO & Mark Wahlberg produced TV show Entourage It was hard to believe when a big screen adaption was green lit. For me Entourage was a great show. Not because of the great story or acting – although the story was nice and the acting was decent – but because of how it made me feel. As opposed to the usual fake drama and artificial violence, pointless grittiness and made-for-an- award role performances, greedy cliffhangers at the end of episodes and seasons, Entourage was a show that actually made me feel good. Short episodes, the feeling of camaraderie and friendship, beautiful settings and people and the concept that if people do what they are passionate about and are loyal to their friends, everything can be overcome. And not in an anime way: in the same damn episode the crisis appeared & was usually solved in the same episode! It’s very rare that HBO takes one of their TV series and turns them into a feature length film. It’s only happened a couple of times since HBO has been in the original programming business. There was ‘Sex and the City‘ and if you want to count ‘Tenacious D‘ and ‘Tales From The Crypt’, go ahead. Other than those three shows, no series on the network has made its way to the big screen until now with ‘Entourage‘. It’s hard to believe that ‘Entourage‘ was on for eight seasons, just shy under 100 episodes that followed Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), a guy who was raised lower class in New York who moved to Hollywood and became one of the biggest movie stars.
His childhood friends Eric (Kevin Connolly) and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) moved out with him to help Vincent out and take advantage of his luxurious lifestyle. Vince’s older brother Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) is a veteran actor who has literally been in almost everything, but has failed to find the limelight even well into his late 40s early 50s. Then you have Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) Vincent’s mouthful of an agent who can do anything and get anything for anyone. That’s basically the premise of the show, as Vince moved from movie to movie with his friends and brother to back him up. There was really nothing ever at stake in the series that would draw suspense, and everything ended happily ever after in each episode for the most part. ‘Entourage‘ was just a fun mindless show to watch. Nothing more, nothing less. Series creator Doug Ellin along with his producing partner Mark Wahlberg decided to continue the series with a three episode story arc in the form of a feature film with Ellin directing and Wahlberg producing. The story of this follows the gang couple of months after the last episode of the series that has Ari coming back to the states from his retirement in Italy to run a big movie studio. His first project is for his favorite former client Vince, who tells Ari he’s in as long as he can also direct. Fast forward a couple of months later, Turtle’s venture with Mark Cuban on the Vodka label has made Turtle almost as wealthy as Vince while Eric is still managing Vince and expecting his first child with his now ex fiancee Sloane (Emmanuelle Chriqui). Then of course there is Drama, who of course is still trying to find his big break. And according to him & the gang his small role in Vince’s film ‘Hyde’ is the exact break he needed. Instead, he has basically finished the film and is trying to secure the last bit of financing (even though the film has already cost about $100 million to produce) for some more visual effects from Texas based oil guy with tons of money Larsen (Billy Bob Thorton). Larsen is not happy about giving more money, so he sends his adult son Travis (Haley Joel Osment) along in his place to see the rough cut to see if everything is on the up and up. From there on things get tough for the guyies. Originally (and very loosely) based on Mark Wahlberg‘s early experiences in Hollywood with his own circle of friends, “Entourage” the television show (in its heyday) was sort-of the “Sex and the City” for men; filled with episode after episode of sex-fuelled, upper class, machismo entertainment. If people had bigger, wilder expectations from this TV show turned film, they won’t find it here. It’s not trying to be anything too serious and I expected the critics to pan it but I did not expect the same harshness in the many user reviews I’ve read on the web. Personally after a 4 year absence I was thrilled to be watching the gang once again, and on the big screen this time.
It felt like coming home after being away and meeting back up with old friends again. It felt like the TV series had never ended and I was back to enjoying it as much as I did during its original run. Vince as always is getting in over his head, E is trying hard to manage Vince and his love life, Drama is as crude and embarrassing as ever, Turtle is, well, Turtle – though a bit slimmer and wealthier than last time, and Ari is the hilariously raging super-agent/studio head we all know and love. All your favorite characters are there as well as the many cameos you would expect, such as Gary Busey, Liam Neeson, Ronda Rousey, Emily Ratajkowski, Pharrell Williams & many more. Everything is fun, in good spirits, and always ends up in a fairy tale land. Sure, it’s still a good time with these characters and if you were a fan of the show, you’re probably going to enjoy the film as well. Everything that made the show so great is back; the characters, the shenanigans among them, the infectious chemistry and, of course, the cameos. Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, and Jerry Ferrara all play off each other so damn well, but it’s Jeremy Piven who steals the show, as he usually does. His portrayal of the neurotic yet hilarious Ari Gold is some of the best comedy I’ve ever seen. Kevin Dillon as Drama was no slouch though, serving up some of the film’s funniest moments with a lot more screen time than I expected. Haley Joel Osment was also great in his role. On the whole, ‘Entourage‘ is a film made for its fans! It never pretends to be something it’s not. The movie knows what it is and doesn’t shy away from its roots; it’s an extended episode (or a shortened season, which ever sounds better) that showcases the fame, fortune, and friendship that come with the cutthroat world of Hollywood. But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea; if you didn’t like the show then there’s no reason to believe that you’d like the movie. In my case, I love it!!
Director – Doug Ellin
Rated – R
Run Time – 104 minutes