Director: Doug Ellin
Writers: Doug Ellin, Rob Weiss
Stars: Jeremy Piven, Adrian Grenier, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Kevin Connelly, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Dillon
Release Date: Out Now
Review by: Dave Griffiths
This is the first time ever in my career that I have ever written a biased review. See I’m not stupid enough to know that if 80% of the people on this planet walked into a cinema to watch Entourage they would not like… possibly a great deal of them would even despise it. But see I am an unashamed huge fan of the television series that sparked this movie and despite a lot of press saying the opposite there is no way that anybody who had never seen (or hated) the television series would ever like this film, or even possibly understand one single thing that is going on throughout the film. So yes, this is a review written by a very biased Entourage fan that was as excited about this film arriving as I was about any other blockbuster this year.
Entourage picks up where the television series left off but with a couple of changes. Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven – Old School) takes on the new role of a studio boss and he instantly places his head on the chopping block when he gives his star client Vince (Adrian Grenier – The Devil Wears Prada) the rights to direct a mega blockbuster film called Hyde. This is a move that Hollywood quickly slams pointing out that Vince and his producer/manager Eric (Kevin Connolly – The Notebook) are ill equipped to be in charge of such a big film. The result is that soon Ari is being hauled over the coals by his boss John Ellis (Alan Dale – Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and the executive producer’s over zealous son Travis McCreadle (Haley Joel Osment – The Sixth Sense) who decides straight away that he wants Vince’s brother, Johnny Drama’s (Kevin Dillon – Platoon) scenes cut from the movie.
Things aren’t much better on the personal front for our stars either. Vince’s marriage ends after nine days, Eric’s relationship with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui – Wrong Turn) is strained despite the fact she is about to give birth, Johnny’s one night stand ends up in a sex tape while Turtle (Jerry Ferrara – Lone Survivor) who is now a millionaire suddenly finds himself with the hots for MMA star Ronda Rousey (herself – Furious 7).
The thing that works best and is going to appeal to fans of the television series is the fact that screenwriter/director Doug Ellin (Kissing A Fool) didn’t decide to do what most television spin off movies do and make the film too different from the television series. There’s no sending the cast into space or back in time or any of that crap, no instead he literally makes the film feel like an extended television episode. To a certain extent he even has the ‘opening credits’ that true fans of the show would know and love and changing Ari and Vince’s careers isn’t exactly out of the realm of things that could have happened in the real world. Yes, to be blunt, Ellin makes the Entourage movie work because he keeps it realistic.
The irony of what I said before is that for all the reasons that non-Entourage fans would get lost in this film are most of the reasons that true fans will love it. Ellin doesn’t go over the top filling in character’s back-stories just to appease the ‘newcomers’ to the franchise. So as a result if you take the character of Eric as an example to a newcomer he looks like a bad guy. The kind of guy who is racing off having sex with whoever he meets while his ex is pregnant… now any true fan of the series knows that Eric isn’t a bad guy and is just making some bad decisions in his life. Likewise with Turtle, how is a newcomer supposed to know he was a fat sponger for a long time, so how would they understand some of the humor aimed at him? And for that matter how would they also understand some of the jokes about Johnny or why Ari is so frustrated that Lloyd (Rex Lee – Young & Hungry) wants him to be part of his wedding? Actually how would they even know who Lloyd is? And how will they get the same laughs out of seeing Mark Wahlberg (Ted) appear in the movie if they don’t know the series was loosely based on his life? No Entourage is firmly a film only for those that fell in love with the series.
For the fans though Entourage is a real gem. Ellin’s comedic moments work a treat, especially when he isn’t trying (Ari punching a picture of a kitten while denying having an anger problem is classic) and the throwaway lines at the expense of characters or real life celebrities all hit the spot well. Ellin also loads this film with celebrity cameos that all really work, to his credit none of them seem forced not even the short ones featuring the likes of Liam Neeson or Kelsey Grammer for example, they all feel natural and will be lapped up by the audience.
What else works with Entourage is the drama and intrigue that the script and storyline manages to bring to the table. As the film goes on and Vince is more and more reluctant to show his film to anyone you actually do find yourself wondering whether he has really made a masterpiece or whether it will be a piece of rubbish. Then when things such as the sex tape and Travis’ interference into Hyde increases the sinking feeling that this film is going to see Ari and Vince have a very public fall from the Hollywood elite seems more and more likely. It is stuff like that that shows this is a classy film that really knows how to draw its audience in.
As we all learned from the television series Kevin Connolly and Jeremy Piven are the acting gold when it comes to Entourage. Adrian Grenier might be the public face and star of this film but Piven owns him right throughout the film. Ari is back bigger and meaner than ever and Piven lets himself run with that, stealing scenes from his co-stars as he finds just the right mix of comedy and drama to really shine. Likewise Connolly who plays the ‘wet puppy’ this time around but does absolutely nothing wrong in a role that can lift his Hollywood star.
Whether you love or hate Entourage will come down solely to whether or not you were a fan of the television series. Go into this film without having ever seen an episode and you are going to be completely lost, but if you enter the cinema having watched the series throughout then this is going to feel like you are catching up with old friends. Entourage is far from the perfect film but it is a good continuation of a television series that obviously has more stories to tell. If however, this is the last that we see of Entourage then I think fans will be truly happy with the one it ends. This is one for the Entourage fanboys only.