Published on June 3rd, 2015 | by Dan Nicholls0
Entourage (The Movie)
We take a bullet for the team and see a movie made for the bro douche contingent — the big screen adaptation of HBO’s Entourage.
I always try to keep an open mind about the movies I watch; I firmly believe in seeing a film just to make up my own mind about it, even when I’m “pretty sure” the movie in question isn’t for me. Now, I won’t see everything (even if it somehow does have some sort of weird merits, The Human Centipede 3 isn’t something I’m eager to try out) but when faced with a choice, I like to give filmmakers the benefit of the doubt. I sat through Jupiter Ascending in the theater a few months ago because a buddy of mine wanted to go. I didn’t particularly care to see it before that day because it didn’t look like my type of movie, and the reviews weren’t good. But I figured, well, it might have something good that I enjoy. Hell, maybe it will even become a new camp classic! But it didn’t. It’s horrible. It’s laughably bad. But hey, I at least made up my own mind about it.
So, when I heard there were plans to make a feature film based on the HBO series Entourage, I was dubious. The show itself had devolved into a celebration of douchebaggery instead of a satirical indictment of young life in the Hollywood limelight. The final few seasons of the show had very, very few redeemable qualities, and I was in no rush to be among the white sunglasses-wearing crowd on opening weekend. But, when an opportunity for a free advance screening was offered to me, I accepted. “Maybe the celebrity cameos will be fun,” I thought. And, after all — I do like bright, shiny toys, loud music with bass, and beautiful girls in bikinis. Cameos, cars, girls, music – these were all staples of the HBO series, and they’re abundant in the film adaptation. But, something strange happened in the translation from ‘crappy season 8’ to what we have here — and it’s not half bad.
Sure, the movie is excessive — but it’s glossy excessiveness that looks great on the big screen, in a full-on-movies-only widescreen aspect ratio. All the characters and tropes were in place, but to my genuine surprise, the proceedings were carried out with a lot of fun. There’s a certain energy to the film that I couldn’t stonewall my way through, my predisposed attitude be damned. The stakes are as low as always, the dialogue is poor, and half of the jokes are misses. The characters are the same as we left them, and the movie quickly works to wipe clean any sort of ‘closure’ that wrapped the series up. So, yes — this is just one big fat episode of a show that started as something decent and broke itself down into uncreative drivel. But still, the Entourage movie would stand as the single best episode of the show’s final three years. Perhaps it’s damning praise, but to start at 0 and work your way up to a 4.5 is a pretty solid improvement. And few improvements like that are as unabashedly flashy and enjoyable to the senses as the eye and ear candy presented here.
Vince (Adrien Grenier) is the Hollywood leading man the show’s universe circles around, and not much as changed since we last saw him. Perhaps recognizing his own stagnant nature during another liquor n’ ladies party, Vince sets his sights on a new goal: he wants to star in and direct his next film. His manager/BFF Eric (a.k.a. E, played with affability by Kevin Connolly) backs him up and gets the funds from super agent-turned-studio-head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), but the gang’s life of excess seeps into their business; they’ve gone over budget, and Ari is left with no choice but to try to squeeze a few more million out of a wealthy investor (Billy Bob Thornton) and his dim-witted redneck son (Haley Joel Osment). Vince’s brother, Drama (Kevin Dillon), is struggling with his failed career, and their buddy/driver Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) is struggling with winning over the latest beautiful girl to give him the time of day (UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, playing herself). So, there’s not a lot more here to invest in than the show would give us over four episodes. Does that plot warrant the big screen treatment? Not necessarily, but we got it anyway. So for what it is, the movie carries itself out surprisingly well.
There are countless cameos, of course, but most of them feel like the result of scraping the bottom of the D-list barrel. The performances are uniformly flat amongst the four bros, but at least Piven’s given a couple different twists for his character (praying, using meditation techniques) that he plays to some comedic highlights. Fans of the show — the true fans that loved it even when most of us thumbed our noses up at it — won’t be left wanting. Casual movie-going audiences would probably be best to steer clear altogether, because as a film it’s absolutely nothing special and not exactly what I’d call technically proficient. But for the curious ones who have enough bad memories to be mainly doubtful — why not give it a shot? It ends as quickly as it starts, but it’s an enjoyable time if you’re ok with knowing it’s not going to wind up as something special or memorable. I was genuinely caught off guard when the movie ended, probably due to its lackluster structure, but I’ll tell myself it was because I was just having such a good time with it. That’s a far better story to tell myself, before time passes and the sexy sheen of the film has faded and I’m just left wondering why they didn’t do something more.