Welcome back, “Entourage”, in all of your douchey glory!
The gang from the HBO show, which ran from 2004-2011, is back and on the big screen, ready to guide us through the glossy, shallow streets of Hollywood. If you weren’t a fan of the series, you will not be a convert after the movie. These guys aren’t overtly awful people but have taken on an air of entitlement, courtesy of all that Hollywood has offered them. We just get to sit back and marvel at the day long party in the sun, looking upon it with contempt or jealously, or simply entertained by all of the gratuitous nonsense these characters get themselves into.
But if you had watched the show, you know what you are in for going into the movie. The entourage is led by movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), who over the eight seasons of the show gained wealth, fame and a massive ego. The movie begins with Vince partying on a yacht, trying to shake off his nine-day marriage. His boys, including best friend and manager E, or Eric (Kevin Connolly), half-brother, Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) and loyal friend, driver and gofer Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) are coming to be at his side. Instead of finding Vince sulking about his failed marriage, they find him partying with women in bikinis, as Vince does.
Vince is getting ready to start his next movie, a techno-reimagining of “Jekyll and Hyde”. The film, called “Hyde”, finds Vince in the lead role but he also wants to direct. His former agent and now studio head, Ari (Jeremy Piven), is getting nervous with Vince’s ambitions. He has always given Vince what he wanted but making his directorial debut on a $100 million-plus film might be pushing it. As always, Vince gets his way and is now directing “Hyde” and needs more money. Ari protests but agrees to go talk to the financiers, played by Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment as his son.
Osment’s character, Travis, is sent to L.A. to figure out what is going on with this movie. He is a smarmy little creep, who is ready to soak up the Hollywood lifestyle. He gives Ari and Vince trouble about getting more money for the movie, which sends Ari through the roof, something the fans of the show always love to see. Not much fazes Vince. His blasé attitude remains intact.
There are several other subplots that threaten to cloud “Entourage”, including E getting ready to have a baby with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) or Turtle courting Ronda Rousey. Series creator and the film’s writer-director, Doug Ellin, keeps the energy high throughout and the pace snappy. As expected, “Entourage” plays like an extended episode and functions solely as fan service for those who watched HBO’s bro-epic for eight seasons.
Piven continues to be the scene-stealer as Ari. The fatal flaw of the show’s last season – which was terrible – was Ellin declawed Ari. He was beaten down by a looming divorce from Mrs. Ari (Perrey Reeves) and his antics were considerably dialed down. He is back in full-fledged Ari mode, spewing vitriolic one-liners at anyone who crosses him. It’s great to see Piven being able to fully inhabit the role once again, which brought him three Emmys.
After being on shaky ground and feeling a bit stale in the final few seasons – and growing considerably dark – “Entourage” is breezy and enjoyable and will satisfy the fans. That’s all that matters with a movie like this.
‘Entourage’ rates 7 out of 10