Film Review: ‘Entourage’

Entourage Movie
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

The HBO series' 'breast' and worst qualities are on full display in what plays like an average but feature-length episode.

The biggest stumbling block faced by TV series-turned-films is a tendency to go too big, taking characters that were appealing in small doses and overextending their allure. For Doug Ellin’s cineplex expansion of his HBO series “Entourage,” the writer-director finds a novel solution: Simply offer up an average episode, and inflate it to feature length with twice as many boobs and celebrity cameos as usual, to the point that the film might as well be called “Boobs and Famous People: The Movie.” Granted, “Entourage” was never exactly scared of boobs or gratuitous famous people when it was on TV, and the rest of the series’ strengths and weaknesses survive the theatrical transition intact. Sometimes funny, often dumb, with equal doses of inside-baseball references and broad bro-ish boorishness, “Entourage” will be loved by fans and despised by detractors, possibly for the same reasons. The returning cast members are clearly having fun, however, and their ability to evoke vicarious mid-2000s decadence will surely draw crowds.

The film opens on a stunning ocean vista, with superstar Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) mourning the dissolution of his nine-day marriage by lounging on a massive yacht off the coast of Ibiza with a flock of topless models. He’s propositioned by one of them, but has to ask her to sit tight for a few hours so he can meet up with his boys, who are arriving on a speedboat with beers in hand. These boys, of course, are his childhood buddies from Queens: best friend-turned-manager Eric (Kevin Connolly), driver-turned-tequila magnate Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and ne’er-do-well older brother-turned … well, ne’er-do-well older brother Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillon).

In any other film, an opening scene like this would be followed by either a DEA bust or the hapless protagonist waking up from a dream, but this is “Entourage,” where everything is exactly as it seems. The sequence actually does a pretty good job of proscribing the film’s central concerns — conspicuous consumption, camaraderie verging on co-dependency, low-stakes conflict and a guiding principle of bros before boobs — so much so that the Piers Morgan-narrated catch-up montage that follows is totally unnecessary.

But Vincent has more on his mind than just boobs. He’s convinced his onetime agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), now the head of an entire studio, to let him try his hand directing a $100 million movie, “Hyde.” (Evidently featuring Chase as a superhuman dubstep DJ who fights government oppression alongside Calvin Harris, it looks pretty bad, even for a Vincent Chase film.) He’s gone over budget, which means Ari has to schlep to Texas to wheedle more funds out of Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton), the grumpy oligarch who’s underwriting the studio’s slate. Before he’ll sign a check, however, Larsen dispatches his vulgar, louche son Travis (Haley Joel Osment, enjoying himself as much as anyone) to L.A. to check out the rough cut, and he threatens to ruin the film with his inane notes and editing demands.

As on the show, this central conflict fades in and out of view as each character deals with their own particular mini-crisis. Eric is awaiting the birth of his first child with ex-girlfriend Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), but has a much tougher time dealing with the logistical complications of sleeping with every swimsuit model he sees. Vincent pursues a relationship with model Emily Ratajkowski, and Turtle makes overtures to UFC fighter Ronda Rousey. (Compared with the sexual politics on display elsewhere, pairing one of the boys with a woman who could literally kill him with her index finger has to count as progressive.) Drama stresses over auditions and worries that his role in “Hyde” will be cut, while Ari has to deal with studio politics, the unwelcome Texan collaborator, and couples therapy sessions with his long-suffering wife (Perrey Reeves).

These strands offer wildly varying returns. Ari’s scenes are very funny, and Drama’s travails are pretty funny. (Dillon and Piven both display some thoroughly sharp comic timing, taking what could easily be one-joke characters and building them into three- or four-joke characters.) Turtle and Vinnie’s subplots are just sort of there, while Eric’s subplot is so mind-meltingly dull that it stops the film in its tracks. Fortunately, no dilemma is allowed to linger for too long before the boys reconvene for quick banter and parties with dancing girls, in case anyone in the audience has forgotten what boobs look like.

At no point does anyone involved with the film ever take this too seriously, and as long as one takes it in the same spirit, it’s perfectly enjoyable. Writer-director Ellin has clearly put every penny of his production budget up onscreen, and each well-photographed frame is suffused with shiny consumer goods and bright colors. Of the 42 different famous people officially credited as playing themselves, most simply wave at the camera, though rapper T.I. gets the biggest laugh, business tycoon Warren Buffett is the most unexpected presence, and executive producer Mark Wahlberg manages to plug both the “Ted” sequel and his reality show “Wahlburgers” in his minute-long cameo, which is pretty shameless even by “Entourage” standards.

As the pic winds down, however, one starts to gain some respect for the purity of its overwhelming self-regard. Hollywood has always displayed a puppy-dog eagerness to celebrate itself, but that celebration is usually gussied up with odes to the transformative power of movies, or portraits of Tinseltown as the great repository of dreamers and artists. “Entourage” simply celebrates the awesomeness of the lives/fantasy lives of the very people making the movie, which is kind of refreshing in its honesty. In the film, the only real threat to this world of easy opulence, flashy cars, award shows, top-shelf booze and boobs is the flyover-country interloper, whose rubbish tastes and rustic ways the power brokers sneer at, while always aware that they’re totally dependent on his money in the end. Perhaps there’s a smarter-than-expected subtext here.

Film Review: 'Entourage'

Reviewed at Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank, Calif., May 27, 2015. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 104 MIN.

Production

A Warner Bros. release and presentation in association with Home Box Office and Rat-Pac Dune Entertainment of a Closest to the Hole, Leverage Entertainment production. Produced by Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Doug Ellin. Executive producers, Wayne Carmona, Steven Mnuchin.

Crew

Directed, written by Doug Ellin, from a story by Ellin, Rob Weiss, based on characters created by Ellin. Camera (color), Steven Fierberg; editor, Jeff Groth; music supervisor, Scott Vener; production designer, Chase Harlan; costume designer, Olivia Miles; art director, Elizabeth Thinnes; set decorator, Jill Sprayregen Henkel; sound (Dolby Digital), Tom Stasinis; re-recording mixers, Deb Adair, Chris Carpenter; assistant director, Gary Goldman; casting, Sheila Jaffe.

With

Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Perrey Reeves, Rex Lee, Billy Bob Thornton, Haley Joel Osment, Emily Ratajkowski, Ronda Rousey, Kid Cudi, Debi Mazar

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 13

Leave a Reply

13 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Ima Right says:

    HBO use to make great movies and series but this show was pure garbage! it didn’t even deserve
    a special final episode much less another Hollyweird remake of a bad cable show! The main actor
    I can’t remember his name is such a pompous ego jerk off! He thought he would be a BIG star and
    hasn’t done crap except this over rated dumb ass show! Glad I cut cable and stop going to movies.

  2. Ryan Rindt says:

    This show became super popular for a reason. Now going into an election year, everyone is seamingly making this movie into something about men emasculating women. Or they are over evaluating all together. I watched this show from day one and I watched every episode at least twice. I guess you could say, I was hooked! Why was I hooked, because in this world that is incredibly mondane, ENTOURAGE delivered an ESCAPE. This show was a window into something better, a life. Even though it was make believed, it was our dream.. 2015 AGE of Decadence … .. .

  3. zrb says:

    How has nobody mentioned the fact that Don Pepe character is the guy who uploads Drama’s video to the internet and somehow didn’t recognize him?

  4. GeorgeValentin says:

    I saw “Entourage” on June 3 and I liked it. Seeing the old gang back together was an emotional experience for me.

    Warning: Do not leave the theater when the end credits start rolling. Some patrons left the theater and missed out on Lloyd’s Gay Wedding that is an integral part of this movie.

  5. David says:

    I liked the show. I have been waiting for this moviesode since the series ended. I don’t expect this to be a classic art film or a blockbuster. I expect it to be season 9, episode 1 thru 3. This movie was made to explain or follow up the final episode in the series. Just by looking at the trailers. I think this is a test where if the movie is successful with the Entourage fans. They might think about bring the series back. Which I think would be a bad idea. After seeing the movie there might be clues of that possibility. We’ll wait and see

  6. richard says:

    What’s Mr.Barker’s problem with boobs? It looks like an obsessive fixation. Boobs are nice and most guys like them. Yeah, they’re an easy ploy, but we’re talking Entourage here. Chill out. Don’t over dramatize it.

  7. Wayne says:

    The fact that this film is getting released at all is prime evidence of Hollywood’s insularity and self-absorption. I’ve been wrong before but I can’t imagine any significant group of moviegoers being drawn to a banal film about this subject…it’s a far cry from “The Player” and “Sunset Boulevard,” films that had artistic heft and critical insight.

    • joan says:

      You underestimate its rabid fan base of young, confused millennial boys who are now older and eager to see this for all its nostalgia.

      • Wayne says:

        I take your point Joan but I’m dubious that that group will be big enough to make this film deliver the goods on a theatrical release.

  8. Tim M says:

    Really? Come on man…basic proofreading.

    The HBO series’ breast and worst qualities are on full display in what plays like an average but feature-length episode.

More Film News from Variety

Loading