Director: Doug Ellin
Starring: Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Haley Joel Osment, and Billy Bob Thornton
Warner Bros. Pictures
“Entourage” had a cable television run from 2004 to 2011. It was a television series that ran the familiar gamut of staying around for a few seasons too long, rehashing tired ideas and beating the same jokes into unfunny submission. Still, the fan following for this show has continued and, just like “Sex in the City” did twice, “Entourage” has found its way to the big screen. Surprisingly the continued story of a tight group of friends from Queens who find Hollywood success is slightly better than expected, making what basically amounts to an extended episode satisfying for the clamoring fan while also being an acceptable time passer for those who aren’t familiar with the long running jokes.
Eric (Kevin Connolly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) are on a speedboat traveling to the yacht of their movie star friend Vince (Adrian Grenier) who just got a divorce and is throwing a party. Vince’s recently retired agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) joins the group by phone to announce that he is coming out of retirement to run a studio. Ari has interest in Vince for a movie however Vince has ideas for his directorial debut. Fast forward and Vince’s big budget retelling of “Jekyll and Hyde” is over budget, Ari is forced to find production money from a wealthy Texas oilman (Billy Bob Thornton), Eric is having a baby with his ex-girlfriend Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), Turtle is trying to date MMA fighter Ronda Rousey, and Johnny Drama is still seeking the perfect role.
To call “Entourage” a party movie would be unfair if the film didn’t revolve mostly around lavish parties, lavish cars, and lavish ladies. Include the star studded lineup of celebrities that flood nearly every scene of the film, Pharrell Williams, Rob Gronkowski, Russell Wilson, Andrew Dice Clay, Mark Cuban, Gary Busey, Liam Neeson, Jessica Alba, Warren Buffet, Armie Hammer, and Tom Brady are just a few that make very small cameos, and “Entourage” becomes the definition of its title. Producer Mark Wahlberg, whose life the show is loosely based upon, makes a funny appearance as well. But is this indulgence and star power all the appeal for the theatrical “Entourage”? To an extent it is, but it’s fun nonetheless. Watching celebrities playing themselves and encountering the fictional group can be amusing even when it’s overdone. What is problematic about the film is that the narrative is perfectly content with letting these cameo scenes and the onslaught of glamorized outlandish celebrity lifestyle take precedent without any purpose other than being eye candy for the viewer.
The primary group of friends in the film have great chemistry when onscreen together. It’s the kind of character chemistry that could have made “The Hangover” sequels more tolerable. The best parts of “Entourage” are the scenes when the friends get to mock and ridicule one another with in jokes from past seasons and new scenarios for the film to build laughs upon. One scene with the group, particularly Turtle, and Ronda Rousey is especially comical.
Unfortunately “Entourage” lacks the narrative consideration to build on the interesting aspects of celebrity that could have moved this film into a culminating ending for the series. But let’s be honest, the television series never attempted to meet these thought provoking questions but instead was complaisant with the satire and indulgence of celebrity living every season of the show maintained. This doesn’t make “Entourage” the movie feel like much of an ending but instead more like a Friday night party, leaving fans ready to see what happens on Saturday night.
2.75 out of 5.00