Past the Popcorn: Entourage Gives Fans About What They’d Expect

by Jeff Walls

The Entourage television show had a good eight-year run on HBO from 2004 through 2011, and now, four years later, the series has been adapted into a movie.  Well, not really adapted.  It’s more like show creator Doug Ellin and company got together and created a four-episode story arc, recruited as many of their famous friends as possible for cameos, and released those four episodes as one feature-length package in theaters.  The result is a movie that might not do much in the way of attracting new viewers, but should give its fans an enjoyable way to reconnect with the characters.

The movie takes place shortly after the end of the television show.  Movie star Vincent Chase is recovering from a short-lived marriage and looking for his next project.  His best friend and manager is about to have a baby with his former flame Sloan, his former driver Turtle is now richer than him thanks to a Tequila deal he struck with Mark Cuban, and his older brother Johnny Drama is still looking for that big acting break.  His break may come in the form of a new sci-fi thriller called Hyde that agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold has lined up for Vince.  Before Vince will agree to take the part, however, he convinces Ari to let him direct it.

entourage-insetThat is the setup, and the rest of the movie’s plot revolves around Ari and Vince’s efforts to secure some additional funding from a Texan financier who has sent his son to spy on how things are going.  The son is a spoiled brat, however, who ends up practically taking the movie hostage.  Filling in the plot are a few shenanigans the boys get into that are on par with their small-screen escapades, while about a third of the movie is spent on cameos.

The movie unimpressively uses a Piers Morgan piece at the beginning in an effort to introduce new audiences to the characters, but it really is unnecessary.  This movie probably won’t appeal to many new viewers.  Fans of the television show, however, will be delighted to hear that the movie very much has the same feel as the show.  The lack of plot doesn’t matter much because what the movie gets right is that the show was about the characters and their relationship, more than it was about what exactly was going on in the story.

Each of the characters has his own subplot going on, and although none might be great on their own as part of the whole they work just fine.  Besides, the best parts of the movie are when the main characters are interacting, and when one character has a baby and another announces loudly that “we’re having a baby,” you actually do believe that they are all in it together.

The movie also has a great sense of humor that, again, is very consistent with the television show.  There are many great laugh-out-loud moments in this movie, perhaps more than any other comedy to be released so far this year.  Although some of these laughs come from the main characters, many of them come thanks to the barrage of cameos.  Movie stars, athletes, musicians, comedians, directors, sports team owners; you name them, and they are probably in this movie at some point.  Still, the movie never feels like it is weighed down by the many cameos (with the possible exception of the beach party scene that goes on far too long).  Like everything else in the movie, the cameos feel natural within the world that Doug Ellin and company have created.

One thing that would have been nice to see is a few more clips of the movie within the movie that Vince is directing.  We see only the opening scene and beyond that, we are just told about the movie and how good it is, award-worthy even.  Why not include a couple more peeks into the film, especially Johnny Drama’s scenes as they were especially hyped?  Perhaps on the Blu-Ray?

As long as fans don’t go in expecting the Entourage movie to bring anything new to the series, they should leave quite satisfied.  It may essentially just be four episodes edited together, but it is a very entertaining four episodes.

Entourage is playing now at the AMC Kent Station 14. Won’t it be nice when Des Moines has its own theater again? Eat local before you go!

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