Entourage isn’t so much a movie as it is a 104-minute, extended episode of the hit HBO television show stitched together with deleted scenes included. The end result is good for some laughs, but there’s very little at stake and to say the film has an ending is to suggest anything really happens at all, which it doesn’t.
Having only watched the first two episodes of the first season of the series the night before my screening, I can say I was familiar with the characters, but not so much the eight season journey Hollywood superstar Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) his boys — Eric (Kevin Connolly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Johnny (Kevin Dillon) — and agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) have taken to reach this point, but suffice to say, you don’t need much of a road map.
Vinnie has divorced his wife after a week of marriage, Ari is now the head of a major studio and wants Vinnie for his first feature film, a gig Vinnie will only agree to if he can direct. The opening credits play and immediately Vinnie has finished principal photography on the movie and a few million extra are needed to finish the film’s visual effects. Problem is, the budget has already ballooned to $100 million and Ari is afraid to go to the film’s investor (Billy Bob Thornton) and ask for more money, but ask he must.
One invented problem after the next and the film comes to a close with the boys walking the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards before a final scene during the film’s credits offers one last throwaway bit to chew on.
On a list of pointless movies, Entourage certainly wouldn’t be the worst offender as it offers more than enough laughs to keep you entertained, though between the laughter you do begin asking yourself, “Why am I watching this?”
The reason, I’m guessing, are the characters, each getting their flamboyant due while Vinnie is the dull superstar keeping them all tied together. It’s interesting, actually, how little effect Vinnie has on the story other than being the one thing everyone is clinging to either to bolster their persona, get them a job, make them money, etc. It’s actually a smart decision as it offers some level of grounded behavior among a crew of hangers on, only one of which seems to have changed since the show’s very first episode.
It’s this last bit that’s so interesting. Having only seen the first two episodes of a total 96 episodes, the only noticeable changes with these characters is the amount of success they’ve enjoyed (all but Johnny that is) and the fact Turtle has lost some weight. They’re even still using the same jokes such as Eric’s days working at a Sbarro. Again, I’ve watched only two episodes of the show and I even get that joke. Did they use it throughout the series’ entire run?
To that point, I’m not sure much familiarity with the show is necessary as my own was rather limited and perhaps that’s what’s need edto enjoy this movie more than I did, a complete attachment to the characters. Though, I think I was pretty much in line with the rest of my screening audience.
You know what you’re getting in terms of performances from the boys (and if you don’t, just watch the trailer), otherwise it’s a few of the series regulars such as Emmanuelle Chriqui as Eric’s pregnant ex, Sloan, and a fleet of celebrity cameos popping up everywhere including Liam Neeson, Tip Harris, David Arquette, Gary Busey, Bob Saget, Ed O’Neill, Kelsey Grammer, David Spade, Jessica Alba, Armie Hammer, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson.
Haley Joel Osment gets a lot of time as Thornton’s hillbilly son, Ronda Rousey has some amusing bits as Turtle’s love interest and Emily Ratajkowski (Gone Girl) is the female counterpart to the wet blanket that is Vinnie Chase. But overall, none of this matters one bit and the movie plays just like this, a series of names rattled off, one after another. “Hey is that [fill in the blank]?” “Yes it is.” “Neat!”
Entourage is the bro-tacular feature film you’d expect from the series and in that regard it delivers. There’s no shame in realizing what you are and living up to that reality, but at the same time you can’t blame your audience if they aren’t quite as impressed as they’d otherwise be had director and series creator Doug Ellin actually shown a little effort to create a movie with a beginning, middle and end with just a skosh of reasoning to exist beyond “Hey, let’s spend more time with these guys… No, it doesn’t matter what they do.”
“Seinfeld” was the king of “about nothing” and “Entourage” had its time exploring that space, and as much as I may have laughed at certain moments, this is a final episode that simply didn’t really need to exist.