ENTOURAGE: This One’s For the Fans
Entourage is an extremely puzzling film. Keeping in mind that the TV show giving rise to the film is superficial in nature, I don't mean puzzling in the way you'd describe an Alain Renais film as puzzling. No, it is the reasons and decisions around everything to do with the film that I don't quite understand.
Entourage is an extremely puzzling film. Keeping in mind that the TV show giving rise to the film is superficial in nature, I don’t mean puzzling in the way you’d describe an Alain Renais film as puzzling. No, it is the reasons and decisions around everything to do with the film that I don’t quite understand. Nowadays, it’s become a staple for any TV show, no matter if it was cancelled early or finished properly, for fans to demand a ‘film’ after the show is over.
This could probably be credited to the cancellation of Joss Whedon’s Firefly leading to the film Serenity, which made sense, as it allowed some form of closure for a show that was prematurely finished. But why Entourage? It’s a show that went for 8 seasons, with the quality declining rapidly as the seasons continued, but the show was allowed a final season to tie up its somewhat loose ends.
The Adventures of Vince
For those who don’t know the Entourage show, it follows the adventures of Vince (Adrian Grenier), a Hollywood actor aided by his ‘Entourage’, his half-brother Johnny (Kevin Dillon), his driver Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and his manager Eric (Kevin Connolly) as they navigate the superficial Hollywood landscape. They are also joined by Vince’s high-tempered agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) whose antics brings a lot of the comedy and high-energy to the series.
The movie continues where the series left off, except that they decided to retcon most story elements in order to service the plot of the film. The series ends with the prospect of Ari Gold being the President of the film studio he’d just left, but the film opens up with him merely being the head of a sub-division of the studio as a ‘trial’ period for President. A marriage between Vince and Sophia (Alice Eve) that developed for the entire final season is merely brushed off in the first two minutes of the film.
So what is the plot of the film? With Ari Gold having some vague position at Time Warner Studios, he’s given the task of developing a big blockbuster, a 150 million dollar film that he gives the directing duties to his pal Vince, a first timer, which has everyone – the crew, the Texan investors, the studio and even the entourage – worried about the outcome. Except this is Entourage, so there’s not much risk or any form of consequence, so the plot pretty much serves as a driving force to navigate through way too many subplots and setup ‘sketch’ like scenarios for our Entourage to parade through.
A Discarded Jigsaw Box of Plots
Speaking of parade, the film throws in many celebrity cameos. Whilst this is a staple of the TV show and understandable being a show set in Hollywood, I feel like most of their purposes/jokes become extremely repetitive. Most of the celebrity cameos are either someone featured in the TV show so fans can be like “Oh that guy!” or they’re someone with a friendly public persona who walks on screen, acts mean and swears and walks off screen.
Liam Neeson, Armie Hammer and Jessica Alba are just some of the celebrities that do this exact same joke. The only celebrity cameos that are elevated to anything above this are UFC fighter Rhonda Rhousey and Gone Girl’s Emily Ratajkowski, who are both sidelined with meandering subplots as love interests for Turtle and Vince. Ratajkowski at least plays into the plot somewhat, but merely acts as a plot mechanic, rather than any form of character.
My biggest criticisms are the sub-plots and the film’s overall pacing. To break this film down, it feels like a recap of an entire season’s worth of storylines, rather than a fully-rounded story. The main plot of the film is Vince finishing his $150 million film but in between this is: Vince starting a relationship with Emily Ratajkowski, Turtle’s relationship with Rhonda Rhousey, Eric’s ex-wife having a child, Eric’s possible second pregnancy, Johnny’s failing acting career, Johnny’s sex tape, Ari dealing with investors, Ari dealing with his gay best friend’s wedding, Ari’s anger issues and more.
Sound confusing? It’s just that haphazard and random in the film, with many subplots merely appearing and finishing without any form of overall payoff or meaning to the overall story. They all feel like plot developments that could’ve been explored properly had they been featured in another season of a show, rather than crammed into 90 minutes.
Laughs Along the Way
Entourage isn’t a total failure. This film is purely for the fans and they will totally like it. It stays true to the characters established in the TV show and features enough nods and winks to the original series that will satisfy hardcore fans. Many fans of the series were unsatisfied with the quality of the seasons over time, many citing the final season as quite poor which makes sense why they’d want a more flashy and updated ending to the show’s storylines.
Haley Joel Osment (of Sixth Sense fame) plays the antagonist, Travis McCredle (one of the main investors in Vince’s film) quite well and I hope he has a future in being a character actor, something we can see developing between this and Kevin Smith’s Tusk. His father in the film, Larsen McCredle, is played by Billy Bob Thornton, who great as always, even though he isn’t in the film as much as I’d like him to be (Osment acts as his avatar for most of the film). Kevin Dillon and Jeremy Piven bring some great comic energy to the film and elevate some slightly weaker comedic writing into something that’s quite enjoyable.
At the End of the Day
Overall, the film isn’t terrible. For a slightly niche TV series, it’s odd that it’s being given such a big mainstream release, especially for a film which is catered towards its fans without much appeal for the mainstream viewer who has not seen the series. The film delivers laughs and some form of closure for the hardcore fan, but the average filmgoer might find the film way too crowded, misguided in its attempts and overall a bit too light and fluffy to really stick with you.
Are you a fan of the original show, or not? Tell us what you think of Entourage The Movie in either case.
(top image source: Warner Bros. Pictures)
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