Warning: There are some spoilers ahead
I’m not going to beat around the bush here, I was a huge fan of the show “Entourage” and I knew with little doubt in my mind the movie would be awesome.
I was not wrong.
It makes sense, though, when you think about it. For all intents and purposes, the team that made the movie also made the show. They didn’t mess with anything.
If you went into the movie expecting and hoping for an hour and 45 minute long version of the successful show, that’s what you get here. And that’s fantastic. It’s also worth noting that I went with someone who hadn’t seen a shred of the original series and she loved it too. Creator Doug Ellin has done something very right here.
The movie picks up just six days after the conclusion of the HBO series. That’s a bit surprising considering the show’s been off the air since 2011. But we don’t stay there too long and soon flash forward eight months into the future and launch into our plot.
The basic premise of “Entourage” is generally this: Four childhood friends from humble upbringings in Queens move to LA armed with the new found success of one of the four, Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier).
Throughout the course of the show, Vince rises through a series of highs and lows to Hollywood super stardom. His best friend growing up, Eric (Kevin Connolly), is his manager. His brother, Johnny (Kevin Dillon), a D-list actor, is also around, as well as Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), who drives everyone around and plans parties. Things change and evolve through the course of the series’ eight seasons, but that’s the basic idea. Those four guys make up the entourage of “Entourage.” Most of the time, they all live together and live off of Vince’s spoils.
The fifth main character is their agent, Ari Gold, played with as much zest and intensity as ever by Jeremy Piven.
The basic plot here revolves around Ari’s first project as a Hollywood studio head. Vince has convinced him to let him both star in and direct the movie (which he hasn’t done before). Eric is producing, and Johnny gets a small but “pivotal” role.
Things are going decently well with the movie, except Vince and Eric need more money to get the movie finished. To do that, Ari is forced to try to convince the movie’s financiers in Texas (played by Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment) to pony up more cash. Osment, in a somewhat crazy and a little brilliant turn, travels to LA to see the goings on with the movie itself — and all hell breaks loose.
There’s not really much that will surprise you about this movie if you watched the show, and that’s why it works. Creator and director Doug Ellin didn’t try to fix what wasn’t broken, and didn’t overstep the bounds of the show. It’s the boys of “Entourage” in all their crassness and hilarity in a movie as sharply funny as the series.
This is not to say, though, that if you’re coming into this movie with no prior knowledge you won’t enjoy it. Everyone in the theatre I was at seemed to eat this movie up, and there is plenty of exposition at the beginning. It feels a bit forced, especially if you’ve seen the show. But after thinking about it a bit, I think it works.
Ellin made the choice to use a Piers Morgan long form journalism piece on the guys as a way to give us the basics on our main characters for those who hadn’t seen the show. It’s fine. I’m sure the team behind the movie thought long and hard about how to sum up eight seasons of television into 15 minutes of exposition. Looking back, I think they made the right choice.
The plot was funny and engaging, a classic “Entourage” tale of rescuing movies from the depths of hell, dealing with relationship stumbles, and of course, partying like rock stars.
One of the big surprises comes courtesy of Haley Joel Osment. Yes, that cute 11-year-old who claimed he could see dead people in an M. Night Shayamalan movie all those years ago is back. He’s playing a crass, rich, young Texan that’s a royal pain in Vince, Eric, and Ari’s butt.
His transformation is awesome in this movie. The guy can act. He’s funny, obnoxious, and completely believable as the misguided and naive Texas millionaire.
There is also a veritable army of star-studded Hollywood cameos in this one. Let me first put fans of the show at ease, everyone from Billy Walsh to Andrew Dice Clay make appearances here on the tails of their arcs in the original series.
And that’s just the beginning. There are cameos here from all over Hollywood and beyond: Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Alba, Warren Buffett, Mark Cuban, Russell Wilson, Ronda Rousey (who makes more than a cameo), Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, Pharrell Williams, Liam Neeson, Armie Hammer, Kelsey Grammer, George Takei, and the list goes on and on.
There’s not much to say about the original cast. They’re all as entertaining as they have always been. These guys have plenty of practice in these roles and they all nail them again. It was no surprise the audience was particularly drawn to Ari Gold, Piven’s character. He’s always been the funniest thing in the show and that didn’t change in this movie.
“Entourage” isn’t reinventing the wheel here. They found a formula that worked very well for nearly a decade, and now it’s on the big screen. This movie is going to alienate the same audience it always has (those sensitive to the sometimes chauvinistic humour), and delight most. It’s not a think piece, it’s just raunchy, fast-paced fun.
The real achievement here is that the creators didn’t overthink this movie, they just continued a beloved story with beloved characters. And those who don’t know the show will probably love it almost as much as the ones who do for the same reason it was popular to begin with: great writing, solid cast, and fun stakes. Don’t miss this one.
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