Entourage Tastes Great, Less Filling (Movie Review)

EntourageEntourage is going to be a hard movie to judge fairly considering I did not see a single episode of the 8 HBO seasons of the show until late last week.  And to be honest with y’all, I really regret that considering the film picks up where the series kind of left off, chronicling the continuing career of movie star Vincent Chase and his “entourage” of friends.  However, at least by taking in the first season of Entourage last week, I was exposed to Vince and friends’ remarkable world of partying and girls, not to mention the ebb and flow of the HBO series.  I guess you could say that I was at least armed with the basics before going into the screening this past Monday night and like they taught us after school on G.I. Joe, knowing is half the battle (I hope I don’t date myself there with that one).  So I’m going to confidently judge this film on its merits as a standalone product below, not some elongated episode of the show continuing on where the eighth season left off.  Here goes nothing.

What makes Entourage work for me, besides my adoration of Hollywood all together, is that its set with real celebrities intermixed with the fictional lives of the onscreen characters we follow.  That’s kind of cool and after taking in the first season, and realizing all of this, I’m kicking myself for not checking out this dope (pun intended) HBO series sooner.  However, I digress.  We have a feature film of Entourage to talk about here.  Let’s get started!

Entourage is directed by Doug Ellin and it stars the principal of the original HBO show, including the likes of  Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, and Jeremy Piven.  Now here’s where it gets interesting.  Remember how I mentioned up above that real celebrities appear in the show kind of playing fictionalized characters of themselves?  Well, I’m not going to mention every cameo you’ll find here in this film, but whet your appetite with some of the following names: Jessica Alba, Tom Brady, Gary Busey, Kelsey Grammer, Andrew Dice Clay, Liam Neeson, Ed O’Neil, Bob Saget, David Spade, Russell Wilson, Ronda Rousey, Mark Wahlberg, Emily Ratajkowski and so many more that it will make your head hurt to think about them all.

So here’s the deal.  Movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), together with his boys, Eric (Kevin Connolly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Johnny (Kevin Dillon), are back in business with super-agent turned new studio head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven).  This time around Ari bankrolls Vince’s film with a $100 million budget and reluctantly agrees to take a risk by letting the actor direct this feature too (since he never has directed one before).  Even though Vince is older and slightly wiser, don’t expect him to be 100% compliant.  Think again!  He goes $15 million dollars over budget and that forces Ari to secure financing from a Texas billionaire (Billy Bob Thornton) and his spoiled son, Travis (Haley Joel Osment).  However, Vince could care less because anyone who has taken in the series before has seen it…his carefree lifestyle that I am talking about.  If the film fails, Vince says they can just move back to Queens.  Haha.  He is kidding folks!  Why would one trade the glorious weather of Los Angeles for Queens?  I know, right!  So what it really boils down to is the question what’s wrong with Vincent’s vision/cut and why has the Texas financing been halted all the sudden?  And of course there’s always that burning question materialized in the film’s trailer.  How on Earth did Turtle get Ronda Rousey to fight him in the ring?

All in all, Entourage the movie feels like an 8-episode season compactly squeezed into two ours with very little fat.  I have no doubt at all that long time fans of the should eat this presentation up.  It feels like a happy family reunion with all the familiar faces from the show we all know and love over the years plus cameos galore, not to mention Ronda Rousey’s best onscreen performance to date.  She really is a real person, not just muscles.  What do you know?

So my friend, who’s the biggest Entourage fan I know, and I had a long debate about this series last Friday night.  I told him despite liking the first season of Entourage it was really hard to identify, bond with or root for the main characters because they were so flawed and other than a few moments of kindness here or there, very spoiled and evil.  I say that because the show affected me personally.  I would give my left nut to have won the lottery and been born rich out there in California or be part of the lucrative movie business.  I guess you can say it’s my “California Dream.”  I have been trying my whole life to get out there, but to no avail.  I’m not wealthy enough to sustain the kind of lifestyle out there that I would desire with my love and our furry friends.  And so we wait patiently half way across the U.S. here in Austin, Texas waiting for things to happen for us.  Ironically, Texas is mocked relentlessly in Entourage the film, and rightfully so.  Despite what they say about Austin or it being the “Third Coast” for film, please don’t buy it at all.  Austin is the FARTHEST thing from the beauty of California and all Hollywood has to offer.  The only thing I like about living down here is the cheaper cost of living compared to California.  Other than that, Cleveland (my former home) rocks!

I kind of got off track in the paragraph up above and I apologize sincerely.  See I told you I get really emotional and negatively affected by this show.  It simply comes down to this.  If it wasn’t for Vincent Chase’s success, the three lads who comprise his entourage would never have this life they really seem to take for granted in my opinion.  That’s what pisses me off the most, but in no way shape or form does it mean Entourage is a bad show, quite the contrary.  For ANYONE wanting to get into the Hollywood film business, this series should be considered mandatory viewing so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.  Behind the scenes, Hollywood is not all glitter and gold.  It’s actually quite nasty and makes you think for a moment do I really want all of this…umm…of course I do!  Haha.

 My friend forgot to tell me about the Aquaman movie that went down in the series.  Arghh!  Besides that though he did a great job of catching me up to speed on everything that transpired throughout Entourage‘s eight seasons (all the highs, lows and character arcs), so much so that when I sat down to partake in the press screening Monday night I felt right at home like I did not miss a beat with these guys.  That’s how set up this film was at it opens with Vincent celebrating his upcoming annulment in typical Entourage style after a very, very brief marriage stint.  In my opinion, all the guys seemed the same, with the exception of Turtle’s character.  He actually had something positive going for him, all on his own after an important introduction from Vincent previous to this film.  His story arc seemed the most complete to me, from a maturity point of view, and I was pleased to see some positive growth from a main character on the show.  Everyone else still exhibited the same flaws, good or bad.

So what Entourage is really just a lot of fun with familiar friends.  Sure it’s all about Hollywood and the business, but it’s also about how hot headed and rude can you be to others and still make it humorous.  I can usually just look at Kevin Dillon and he makes me laugh.  No, it’s not that I think he’s funny looking, well I guess from a certain point of view he can be, but it’s just that his character is so strongly developed that I know whatever the dude does he’s going to make my side hurt from laughing and he definitely delivers in this outing from his orgasm being leaked online to his constant insecurity and hair jokes, he’s definitely one of my favorite characters here.  And who can deny the commanding performance Jeremy Piven always sports?  I shiver to think what the show would be without his out of controlled temper and of course his unfiltered mouth.

The only weak aspect of this feature was the weak resolve for me.  Once a certain inciting incident is identified as the reason why the movie’s financing has come to a screeching halt, not to mention the editing, the film just moves at warp speed then to provide you with not only a convenient ending, but I guess more importantly the ending you deserve (think The Hangover coupled with a during credits scene too).  Will there be another one?  Who knows!  Sex and the City had two runs in its television afterlife so maybe if the crowds show up for Entourage, who knows.  And that brings me to my next point when comparing and contrasting these two HBO titles.  Entourage is to men what Sex and the City is to women.  Am I right?  Of course I am!  You weren’t doing anything special this week were you?  Why not go for another ride with these guys?  You know you want to!  It’s Entourage with less fat (hence my title and a much slimmer Turtle…haha).  Enjoy!

Entourage Movie Poster


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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