7 out of 10
Kevin Connolly as Eric
Directed by Doug Ellin
Everything is going well for Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) as his directorial debut has been greenlit by his former agent and new studio head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), while his brother Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) and best friends are dealing with their own things. When the movie starts going over budget, the studio’s main financer Travis McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton) sends his inept son Travis (Haley Joel Osment) to Hollywood to get the movie back on budget.
It’s hard not to be completely cynical about the decision to bring HBO’s “Entourage” to the big screen after the success of the first Sex and the City movie, but one wonders who besides the fans of the show will have any interest in seeing this continuation of Doug Ellin’s series. They’ll be the prime audience who’ll want to find out what’s new with their favorite characters, and they’re also the audience that should be the most satisfied by what Ellin and his cast on their return.
Those who have never seen the show will be brought up to speed fairly quickly by an introduction that gives just enough information to know who everyone is but not enough to really explain why anyone of them were so popular on the show. For that, you’d literally have to watch at least a couple of seasons to understand how they got where they did. Any further doubt that Entourage, the movie, is going to be an extended version of the show will be dashed after that intro as soon as the familiar theme music from the show is played.
Literally everyone is back and the four main guys—Vinnie, Johnny Drama, E and Turtle—each have their own story arc, as does Jeremy Piven’s super agent-turned-studio exec. Ari Gold, who is doing his best to not get angry despite having to deal with even more crap now that he’s running a studio. The biggest issue is that after giving Vinnie a chance to direct a big budget movie, the popular actor has gone over budget and needs more money to finish, so Ari has to go to Texas to convince the studio’s financer (Billy Bob Thornton) to give more money. Instead, he has to let the wealthy Texan’s son Travis see Vinnie’s movies and see if it’s worth giving him more money to finish.
While this is going on, each of the guys is dealing with their own things. For E, it’s trying to date again after breaking up with the now-pregnant Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), while Turtle is trying to show MMA champion Ronda Rousey that he’s serious about dating her. Kevin Dillon’s Drama is dealing with his usual attempts to get work and be recognized for his accomplishments. Piven’s Ari Gold acts as the lynchpin of the movie, because watching him completely lose it still offers the most entertainment value. As far as the new cast, Haley Joel Osment is quite good as the Texan schlub who is trying to hook up with hot L.A. ingénues while screwing with Vincent’s movie. Other than that, the barbs traded between the various characters is what drives most of the humor, just like the show.
For better or worse, it’s all very “inside baseball,” as they say about movies dealing with the movie industry, but it joins the fairly small list of decent comedies about the movie biz, including The Player to The Big Picture. As with the show, creator/filmmaker Doug Ellin calls upon everyone who knows for favors to get cameos from the likes of Liam Neeson and others. It’s that mix of reality and fiction that helped make the show so much fun, and it’s used just as effectively here when you never know when a real person might turn up as a (presumably) fictionalized version of themselves.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t problems, including suspending disbelief that “Hyde,” the movie Vincent is making could possibly be as good as Ari is telling everyone after watching a few minutes of it, because it looks horrible. There also isn’t much about Entourage that makes it seem like it needed to be a theatrical release rather than just doing it as a longer episode on HBO. The ending’s also a little disappointing, not because it ends without any indication whether we’ll ever see the characters again, but because it seems like an obvious and forced attempt at giving one of the main characters a deserved happy ending after being treated so horribly for the entirety of the show.
The Bottom Line:
If you’re a fan of the show, you should be thrilled by how Doug Ellin has expanded what worked so well on the show, giving all the characters their own storylines. If you don’t like the show or have never seen it, there probably isn’t much for you here.