Every guy, at some point in his life, dreamed of becoming a famous Hollywood actor. To live a life of great wealth, attend extravagant parties, hang out with models and beautiful actresses and see your face on the big screen. It is upon this very fantasy that the hit HBO original series Entourage was created, to allow viewers to live out their fantasy through the show’s fictional protagonist Vincent Chase, an average guy from Queens who suddenly rises to stardom. The show was a kind of parody of Hollywood, with many famous celebrities playing fictionalised versions of themselves. Throughout the show’s eight season run, Vinny and his entourage navigated this treacherous landscape, full of loud mouthed agents, egotistical studio heads and sex crazed party animals. Now, four years after the show concluded, the entire cast returns for a feature length film, written and directed by the series’ creator Doug Ellin.
The movie picks up right after the series’ end, with a recently divorced (after a nine day marriage) Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) partying on a yacht with his entourage, consisting of Eric “E” Murphy (Kevin Connolly), Salvatore “Turtle” Assante (Jerry Ferrara) and Vince’s half-brother Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dilon). Vince’s ex agent and current movie studio head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) asks Vince to star in his next high profile movie, something Vince agrees to do only if he can also direct. Unfortunately, Vince’s directorial debut goes way over budget, forcing Vince and Ari to seek further financial aid from rich Texan investor Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton), and his jackass son Travis (Haley Joel Osmond). Other storylines include Turtle’s attempts to romance female MMA fighter Ronda Rousey, Eric’s relationship with his pregnant ex Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and Drama’s continuing quest to become a legitimate actor like his little brother.
I watched the whole eight year run of Entourage when it aired on HBO and really enjoyed the first couple of seasons. I’ll admit, the first 15 minutes or so of this film got me a little excited. I was actually happy to once again see the characters I spent eight years watching on my TV screen. I began to remember why I liked the guys, and why I appreciated the show’s particular sense of humor and atmosphere of masculine bravado. Unfortunately, that feeling ended pretty quickly when I began to remember why all those things got old and even annoying in the show’s concluding seasons. I’m tired of seeing Eric constantly screw up his romantic relationships for stupid reasons; I’m tired of seeing Drama fall flat on his face during auditions. I’m tired of seeing Turtle try to get with a girl that’s way out of his league and I’m tired of seeing Vincent Chase get showered with praise for wooden performances in movies that look like absolute trash. All of these things happened every season on Entourage and, wouldn’t you know it, they’re in the movie as well. It’s a little sad that they didn’t even try to do anything different for the movie. This really doesn’t even feel like a movie, more like three episodes of the show airing back to back. Even the celebrity cameos, which were some of the best moments of the show, feel lazy and forced here and only a couple did so much as make me chuckle.
The biggest sin that this movie commits is that its very existence is completely unnecessary. The show already gave viewers a decent ending point for all the characters. What this movie does is undo all that resolution that the final episodes gave us, only to tell a lazily hatched together plot, patched with a multitude of celebrity cameos, phone conversations and gratuitous shots of female anatomy. I mean seriously, even some of the main characters barely got a plot. Turtle’s only story in the entire film is his romantic pursuit of Ronda Rousey, the sole purpose of which seems to be to see Turtle get his ass kicked by her like we see in the trailer. Drama is used solely as a side gag, always getting made fun of for mooching off of his successful brother. But perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the film to me was the ending. Without spoiling too much (even if there really isn’t much to spoil) the movie leaves a ton of plot threads hanging and skips ahead in time, leaving the viewer to assume that a lot of things must have been resolved in that missing time. It’s as if Doug Ellin didn’t know how to properly conclude the story or ran out of time to write the script and just decided to skip ahead to his planed ending point.
There are some saving graces in the movie. Jeremy Piven, as always, is great as Ari Gold and was responsible for most of the laughs I got out of the entire film. You can clearly see that writer/director Doug Ellin loves writing for Piven because he is given the movie’s best lines and moments. I would even go as far as to say that Ari is the primary character of the movie. He’s really the only one of the guys who actually grows throughout the movie. Also giving a surprisingly good performance, is Haley Joel Osmond (that’s right, the “I see dead people” kid from The Sixth Sense) who’s pretty damn entertaining as the putz son of Bily Bob Thornton’s character.
If you haven’t seen the show, then there is absolutely no reason for you to watch this film. It was only made for fans who desperately wanted to see another adventure involving these characters. If you haven’t seen the show, but always wanted to, please do not start by watching this because it’s definitely not Entourage at its best. Speaking as someone who was a casual viewer, this movie provided me with only occasional glimpses of why I liked the show in the first place, and ultimately left me wishing this story had ended with the final episode. When it comes down to it, four years just isn’t long enough for anyone but diehard fans to feel nostalgic about this world and these characters. It offers absolutely nothing new and comes off as a poorly made mix tape of the show’s greatest hits, without any of the freshness or originality that was present when the show started. Like the Hollywood this film presents us, Entourage is just plain shallow, all flash and no substance.
Final Score: 3.5/10