Entourage – Review
By David Baldwin
I made the mistake of not boarding the Entourage train during the height of its popularity. By the time I started actively watching the show during Season 6, it was already going downhill. The show was still fun to watch, but lacked the creativity and heart of what preceded it. College Humor posted this sketch outlining the show’s formula perfectly – and it became all too obvious how true it was in those last few seasons.
So following the varied success of the Sex and the City films, we finally have an Entourage movie just over four years since the Series Finale. And it starts off as if the show never ended.
Ari (Jeremy Piven) is the studio head and reluctantly gives Vince (Adrian Grenier) the go-ahead to direct his own $100-million movie. E (Kevin Connolly) is still Vincent’s manager and producer, Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) is now slim and turning heads with his mysterious and massive fortune, and Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) is back to looking for work. Eight months later, Vince needs more money to complete the movie, sending everyone into a chaotic frenzy.
I was afraid walking into Entourage that it would feel like a hyper-extended episode of the show. The fan friendly opening credits did nothing to dispel my thinking (merely leaving me curious why I never thought the show’s theme song ran longer than 30 seconds). But save for a really awful and obvious meta moment halfway through the end credits, the film does its very best to be a cinematic adventure. The stakes are higher and the film twists in a few ways that do not follow the show’s blueprints. There are some formulaic moments peppered throughout, as are the callbacks and references to specific episodes and moments from the show – but the film does a more than good enough job trying to set itself apart from it.
The chemistry between the five main cast members is just as great as you remember, and they have a lot of fun falling back into their roles with relative ease. Grenier and Connolly continue owning their characters, yet oddly they seem to switch character archetypes more than once here. Ferrara really steps up with all of his material, and Piven as usual, tears up everything in his path. But it is Dillon who really stands out above everyone else, even if his character’s obnoxious misogynistic tendencies lack the charm they once had. Johnny Drama has long been one of the funniest characters on the show, and Dillon improves on that trend greatly.
The cameos and returning favourites offer plenty of laughs – even if the trailers ruin who shows up to the party. UFC and budding film star Ronda Rousey is surprisingly enjoyable and nowhere near as terrible as she was in last summer’s Expendables 3, and Haley Joel Osment has a blast hamming it up as one of Vince’s producers. Believe me when I say I was genuinely surprised he could sustain a Texan accent as long as he does here.
I feel like the film’s only real problem is its lack of resolution to nearly every subplot. By the time the film reaches its bittersweet and truly ridiculous ending, the main plot that drives the film is resolved but it feels like so much of what leads up to that point is missing. The film keeps a brisk pace and is easy to keep up with, but it veers in so many directions. With five main characters, this is an unavoidable hazard. It works on TV because the resolution may come episodes or seasons later. But here, it just feels like so much was cut out to keep the film moving. It leads to a lot of stifled and odd character development for the leads and especially for the supporting characters. I expect writer/director Doug Ellin will have a lot of deleted and extended scenes for the Blu-ray.
And if I’m being picky, I do not really think Ellin needed to add a near gratuitous car commercial for Cadillac in the middle of the movie. Entourage has long been prime real estate for product placement, but this one seemed a bit much.
Even with the missing scenes and resolutions, Entourage remains a total blast from start to finish. It is a little messy, but this does not take away from any of the fun and hilarity. It is a film that all the fans will love, and does more than enough to draw in any non-fans as well. The performances are solid, and the satire and plotlines are just as preposterously entertaining as before. I hope this is not the true swan song for the gang from Queens, but if it is, then it is a fitting finale that will wash away the taste of the last few uneven seasons.