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The clique of fictional successful movie star Vincent Chase are all back in town along with the biggest agent in town turned studio head, Ari Gold. Eric (E), Turtle and Johnny Drama return alongside Vince to help him with his directorial debut that only stems what would be many more challenges to overcome. The glitz, the girls, and the crazy Hollywood life continues as the audience gets their chance to live vicariously once again with their favorite ensemble of characters only now on the big screen in this perfect addition and better closure of the popular HBO series. You must not take it too seriously though. Some may have looked into the relation to societal roles a little too closely. Chill or this may not work for you.
ENTOURAGE has everything that one would expect from a movie-edition of this band of brothers, near mockumentary, of a struggling movie star. It has all the charades we’ve come to expect from the show times 100 along with more girls, nudity, cameos, locations, and a plot that fits an already near happy-go-lucky ending of an 8 season television show. It’s your perfect episode that just happens to last nearly two hours, but is self-containing and requires no prior knowledge of the show, although it still may help.
I was thinking for a long time how they could continue the story as creator DOUG ELLIN and writer ROB WEISS already appeared to tie all the knots with the ending of the story. Just like most of the episodes, the series ended neatly with everyone practically getting their happy ending, which I find was part of the success of the TV-show. We were left with Vince (ADRIAN GRENIER) headed to get married in Paris, Eric’s (KEVIN CONNOLLY) long time girlfriend Sloan (EMMANUELLE CHRIQUI) was pregnant, Turtle (JERRY FERRARA) was a new millionaire with his new Tequila company, and Johnny (KEVIN DILLON) finally had a “big” break with a new animated television series. Oh, and egotistical dirty-mouthed Ari Gold (JEREMY PIVEN) retired to save his marriage and possibly himself from being on the brink of a breakdown.
The television show was pretty wrapped up, and didn’t seem needing of a continuation movie. One would think, right? Nope, ELLIN and WEISS found a way to continue the story seamlessly bringing the whole team, including almost all supporting roles from the past, back together while not alienating the audience if they have never seen the show before. You can watch this movie and understand quickly each character, what they mean to each other, and ultimately the intent of the plot without seeing a single episode. ELLIN has stressed how he wanted to ensure he was able to do it and pulled it off with and then some!
There isn’t any long explanation of the past. It’s not needed. That is what made the show so strong. The characters and their actions told enough and that’s all we needed. ENTOURAGE starts immediately with Vince’s boys on a speed boat in the middle of the water. Instantly Johnny is cracking jokes on Turtle and E as they head toward a large party boat where Vince is holding one of his EPIC parties. Right away you can understand the dynamic between the boys and get an idea of this big glamorous life they now live.
It’s as if the movie hasn’t skipped a beat from the show. Everyone still acting exactly the same with their childish crude humor and tight friendships they all have remain. We quickly make our way onto the boat to meet Vince and the countless girls in bikinis or topless only to get quickly told the story how Vince’s honeymoon ended in your typical short-lived Hollywood relationship and the retired former agent of Vince has already returned to the business as the head of a major film studio. None of it feels forced but maybe over told so the entire audience can understand where everyone is at.
Just shortly after we hear Vince drop his bomb to Ari asking to direct his first movie on his next film that the iconic tile song from the TV-show slowly begins to fade in ultimately blasting over the theaters speakers like we have never heard it before. There I was, my favorite characters all back exactly as I have always known them and the typical title sequence with actors and production names replacing iconic Los Angeles landmarks only bigger and better than before. It was here! I was in that moment again. I knew for the next near two hours I would be entered back into the lives of these lovable characters where nothing in my life would matter. The audience gets the chance again to feel like they are living this glamorous, sometimes not-as-glamorous, lifestyle with these characters they have come to know so well. That’s all one can ask for a movie continuation of a tv-show.
The audience is treated to the debauchery the show is known for with silly woman problems to obstacles to overcome getting a film made. One of the biggest challenges Vince and the guys face is convincing their Texas multi-industry financier played by BILLY BOB THORTON and spoiled son, Travis (HALEY JOEL OSMENT). Yep, your eyes do not deceive you. Haley Joel known for his seeing of dead people in The Sixth Sense has returned to the screen in a very pivotal role in ENTOURAGE. Thorton’s character Larsen basically doesn’t believe in seeing any of the films he financially backs and instead sends his son to LA to see a screening of the movie in order to decide whether or not they will support any more money toward this already over-budget film.
In case you are unaware, Haley Joel doesn’t quite look like you might expect this former child star would look today. There was a time he was very over weight and basically appeared to have left show business. Somehow he has found a perfect role to jumpstart his career once again. He is still larger but still has that baby face look now just covered with a beer. His southern accent featuring rich kid character wasn’t an easy one to pull off and he somehow excels at in a role not really mentioned in any of the marketing.
Along with Billy Bob and Haley Joel is a slew of countless other characters making their return and what seems as a endless amount of cameos. Normally films with so many cameos would feel forced and overdone, but in ENTOURAGE it fits within the theme being this is based around Hollywood anyway. Besides, most are playing themselves and it truly fits into the story. Being that many were not said previously, I will keep most as a surprise.
I found it very pleasant to see nearly every character almost no matter how small their role was to be back in the movie. All of them seem to work with the story and never felt like they were placed just for the sake of being there. No need to stress as your favorite flamboyantly gay agent assistant Lloyd is there too in all his glory. His platonically loving care for his former boss Ari is finally understood and really makes sense. Ari has always been harsh on Lloyd, but there is a very touching scene between these two that really sums it up perfectly. I wont spoil it, but will mention it was a much needed and welcomed addition to these characters.
I really cannot dive too much into the cast as there are so many. However, I must say Turtle’s new lady interest, UFC fighter RHONDA ROUSEY, has some very comedic parts, she is probably also the most cringe-worthy. I usually let slide bad acting for people playing themselves, but it’s still worth mentioning it was clear that she is not an actress by day. It’s worth mentioning Vince’s publicist Shauna, DEBI MAZAR, returns as well other more-famous past cameo stars like BOB SAGET and GARY BUSEY.
MARK WHALBERG, one of the many producers, obviously makes his way in as well. The concept for the show is said to be loosely based on his life and his own entourage with many of the characters based off his own friends. There are similar themes he has faced throughout his own career, but the show was originally tended to be a documentary following his real life, but producers decided to make Entourage based off fictional characters so they could keep it lighter while also not reflecting on actual issues that surrounded him in Hollywood.
As mentioned before, the lighter, happier endings with everything being okay in most endings lead to Entourage’s success. It’s that feel good fluff that made you know each week that you would find joy within the show. The movie is no different, and while it may get serious at times, the comedy and ridiculousness they get into really make this a fun new journey.
ENTOURAGE is really a story of a group of long lasting childhood friends that have always remained there to help their buddy Vince, even though many of them were actually needing help themselves. They are always there to support him, but opposite of many other opinions I have seen, it’s not about Vince’s story arc, which there is nearly none. It’s about their brotherhood and overcoming of their personal battles and odd circumstances that have lead to their own happiness. This isn’t Vince’s story, it’s his entourage’s. In fact, it’s not about their character flaws or fixes that are needed. There aren’t any real changes to each characters personality or who they are as a person, but rather ENTOURAGE the show and the movie is about their journey to get to where they wanted to be.
Throughout the entire journey of their lives since the shows creation in 2004, the audience has been lead to moments where they get to feel as if they are apart of Vince’s entourage. That’s what has given so many that euphoric feeling. It’s that moment of escapism. ENTOURAGE the movie succeeds at being exactly what it’s trying to be. It’s your escape to the world many of us wanted a taste of but could only dream about. The movie is a complete story that wraps everything up in a tight little package leading to a more satisfying ending than even that of the series.