When movies are made from a book or TV show, fans of the source material often approach the film with trepidation. Breathe easy if you were a fan of the HBO series Entourage. The big-screen version is just the show writ large.
Of course, that also means it has the same flaws as the series. Chief among them is that women are merely objects to pursue or, in some cases, flee. Even the ones whose characters are fleshed out beyond “big boobs, tight ass” are defined by relationship issues—will Sloan and Eric manage to coexist while having a baby? Will “Mrs. Ari” make Ari retire again? Will Ronda Rousey date Turtle? A subplot that tries to “teach a lesson” about such attitudes has minimal effect on the character it’s aimed at—or as a story thread.
Entourage is all about the bros—Vinny Chase (Adrian Grenier), Vinny’s older sibling, Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), Vinny’s manager/friend Eric (Kevin Connolly) and Vinny’s driver/friend, Turtle (Jerry Ferrara). Through the ruse of a Piers Morgan TV feature, the movie quickly catches the audience up on the group’s backstory. So whether you broke up with the series after three-and-a-half seasons, as I did, or if you’ve never seen an episode of it before, you grasp the fundamentals within the first 10 minutes.
Vinny’s grown up a bit after a nine-day marriage and is seeking something more from his successful career. Turtle’s gotten rich creating a tequila company. Eric still plays the good-guy card while behaving abominably. Drama is … well, he’s still Drama (his Viking Quest catchphrase is used well). The main plot focuses on Vinny’s directorial debut on a film for his former agent, Ari (Jeremy Piven, stealing the movie with motormouth insults and rants, just as he did the series), who has come out of retirement to be a studio head. The film’s unfinished and over budget, and the Texas money behind it (Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment) are tired of writing checks without knowing more about it. Complications ensue, threatening Vinny’s artistic vision, Ari’s blood pressure and both of their careers.
There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, many stemming from the multitude of cameos popping up like celebrity whack-a-mole. Among the most entertaining are T.I. in the waiting room of an OB-Gyn, Kelsey Grammer leaving a counseling session and Liam Neeson encountering Ari at a traffic signal. Others showing up, some in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-them capacity, include Russell Wilson, Andrew Dice Clay, Mark Cuban, Entourage‘s real-life co-producer Mark Wahlberg (the original series was inspired by the adventures of him and his crew), Bob Saget, Warren Buffett, Jessica Alba, Chad Lowe and Rob Gronkowski, who, as sports fans would expect, is utterly Gronk. There are more. Lots more, as cameos were always a staple of Entourage, to help establish the Hollyweirdness of a movie star’s life.
In bigger roles—as objects of affection, of course—are Emily Ratajkowski (the brunette in the “Blurred Lines” video) and mixed martial arts fighter Ronda Rousey. Ari’s former assistant Lloyd (Rex Lee) is back, and he’s getting married! (The gay wedding storyline is completely superfluous, but everyone loves Lloyd, so it’s a nice way to involve him.)
If you had a good relationship with the show, you’ll love the movie. If your relationship with it, like mine, was on the rocky side, you’ll appreciate the chance to catch up, but you won’t regret not keeping in touch.