A full on explanation of what Entourage is seems pointless at this time. The show lasted eight seasons starting in 2004 and the movie is fairly big news for a summer comedy.
The series as a whole is entertaining, funny, well written, and enjoyable. Of course this is all coming from a male’s perspective. Entourage is not entirely for men but it is a very typical Hollywood fantasy story for men. Supposedly loosely based on the life of Mark Wahlberg maybe this is just his experiences of it, but however it shakes out Entourage has always been a male driven, male fantasy project. The property is filled with beautiful women, insane parties, loud mouthed humor, unbelievable cars, and plenty of friend moments for the tight knit grew that grew up together. I don’t mean any of this as a slight against Entourage, but rather just giving you, the reader, a bearing as to who is writing the review. It seems impossible not to write this with some bias since I have been a fan of the show since I first saw it in 2005.
The series is absolutely binge worthy if you’re curious. Every episode is available on HBO, HBO’s streaming platforms, and DVD/Blu-Ray. The episodes are 25-30 minutes of nonstop fun. You get to know the characters right away as average kids from Queens, NY navigating only the glamorous side of Los Angeles. The show also gives an entertainingly twisted view of the behind the scenes aspects of Hollywood. What it takes to be an actor, an agent, a studio head. Working with narcissistic people on every level of the spectrum and the wheeling and dealing it takes to get the job done. Again, this is a comedy so take it all with a grain of salt but as a fan of the movie business the show is fun.
Entourage isn’t perfect. Some of the character arcs are better than others. It takes the show a few years to even do anything with Turtle. Vince has been up and down so many times it’s almost unbelievable but when watched it never goes so far to ‘jump the shark’ or ruin what viewers turn into the show for.
Adam’s Verdict: THE FRANCHISE : 4/5
Let’s be honest. If you weren’t a fan of the series don’t bother going to see the movie. It does tell its own story and it does get the audience up to speed but it really shouldn’t come first.
The Entourage movie itself kicks off ret-conning most of the final season. Vince’s (Adrian Grenier) marriage only lasted nine days. His wife who was barely a character anyway doesn’t show up in the show. She leaves him on his honeymoon and he (quickly) gets over it with a party. The ret-conning doesn’t end there, E’s (Kevin Connolly) wedding also came to a halt. The on-again-off-again relationship with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) goes through a full season’s worth of arc in the 104 minute run time. Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) is still stumbling through Hollywood, trying hard to be relevant, pouring his soul out, and overreacting to virtually every situation. Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) is the only character who got to progress between the series finale and the film. He was allowed to keep the fortune he made starting his own Tequila company and even gets to pursue an intimidating love interest in real life fighter Ronda Rousey (played by herself). Ari Gold’s (fan favorite Jeremy Piven) story is reset as well, but that fits with his character. Ari is a bullheaded agent at heart and always will be. He’s addicted to his work and seems to thrive on the frustratingly high stress world he occupies.
After getting the boys back together Entourage kicks off with a new title sequence that takes a lot of influence from the one used in the series in style, even bringing back Jane’s Addiction’s Superhero as the theme song. The opening credits scene is beautifully nostalgic. Ari is back in the game as a studio executive at Warner Bros. At least they used the Warner Brothers lot, the studio may be fictitious. Vince decides in order to star in another film for Ari, he also wants to direct. The movie doesn’t spend enough time showing how Vince made his movie, it really doesn’t show it at all, but the main plot starts when Vince is over budget yet again. The boys must balance their dramatic personal lives, with their career, and the twist in their path caused by the Texan billionaires funding Vince’s project.
Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, and Jerry Ferrara have never been phenomenal actors. After eight seasons playing the same characters they slip back into their roles no problem. Some of the delivery is awkward and some of the lines are awkward to start. What sells the group of four is the familiarity and the banter. Kevin Dillon is the only one of the four who is a solid actor who looks like he could take on many roles. Ironically he plays the loser half brother to Vince. The stand out actor and character of the series has always been Jeremy Piven and his loud mouth agent Ari Gold. Piven remains king of the franchise in the movie version of Entourage though he isn’t given much depth to play with. It may surprise some to learn that the second best actor in the film is newcomer to the series, Haley Joel Osment as Travis McCredle. The son of the billionaire who is financing Vince’s project. Osment does a great job with his role and his accent. He never steps over any acting lines. His performance never gets hammy. He shows a lot of talent, not just for a film that is pure fan service, but as a professional.
The rest of the characters, new and old, are essentially just varying degrees of cameos. Cameos is one thing Entourage is packed full of. Sloan is back to have a high school level relationship with E. Lloyd is back and doing well, Mrs. Ari shows up along with the Gold’s son (whose name escapes me) but their daughter was nowhere to be found. Not even a throwaway line about a prep school or some other acknowledgement that she exists. Foul mouthed publicist Shauna, high strung director Billy Walsh, Dana Gordon, John Ellis, and even the “family” dog Arnold all return. Ronda Rousey, Emily Ratajkowski, Piers Morgan, Mark Cuban, T.I., David Arquette, Gary Busey, Bob Saget, Jon Favreau, Andrew Dice Clay, Pharrell, Liam Neeson, Kelsey Grammer, Chad Lowe, Mark Wahlberg, David Spade, Jessica Alba, Common, and about a thousand more all show up for one thing or another. Even a weird cameo by Bob Ryan (Martin Landau) is made. Weird because I could swear that the character died off screen in the time the series was airing.
With a short run time every character was still given something to do, but this wasn’t always a good thing. Turtle felt like the only character with a natural continuation. Having made something of himself he pursues a relationship with Ronda Rousey. Being such a business and investment minded person causes him to stick his foot in his mouth and he has to fix the situation. It is concise while still giving the character his due. Johnny Drama’s story remains largely unchanged until his big payday toward the end of the movie. Trying to stay out of spoiler territory, for a fairly predictable movie, I’ll leave it at that. Vince’s storyline should have taken some screen time from E or (I hate to say it) Ari’s, to develop the actor as a director. E could have had to prove himself in a professional capacity while proving that being the one decent guy in the town is possible, although not easy. I hated every bit of E’s storyline that wasn’t him and Sloan getting along. There didn’t seem to be a single character driven reason for E’s storyline. It was purely that the writer’s needed something for him to do and made him act out of character to do it. If Vince had more time it could have shows that directing and acting aren’t the same things. Directing while acting is even more difficult. Ari went back to his old ways which was solid. It paid respects to his character in the way that Turtle’s did and gave him a lot to play with. Ari had the greatest moment of his typical behavior biting him in the back. In the series Ari would have to put his ego aside for brief instances before it came back full force. This time he is driven into a decision if to swallow it or not.
Technically Entourage looked more like a TV show than a movie. While that line is thinning the chopped frames, soft focus, and varying quality of video was a little off putting. Dishing out 15 bucks for a ticket to see the movie felt like it should have delivered a viewing experience aside from what we got tuning into the show every Sunday night. Maybe that was expecting too much for a movie made in fan-service to a TV show.
All things considered Entourage plays out like an extended episode of the show. For fans of the show it’s a positive, for casual audiences, it’s nothing. I enjoyed the movie but it would have been better airing on HBO as a reunion movie or even cut up into a mini-series.