Entourage

The Entourage movie plays out exactly like a feature-length episode of the HBO series that aired for eight seasons. The series of events follow on directly from the final television episode. Those who, like me, loved the TV show will find plenty to enjoy here as movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his enablers continue to live the high life in the rarefied air of Hollywood. This is a world of ego and excess in which the not-too-bright Chase is very much the epitome of the ‘anybody can make it in Hollywood’ mantra. From the outset, Entourage has skewered Hollywood with a group of characters who collectively epitomise the dysfunction, debauchery and desperation of those who work within the film industry. From narcissistic agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) to Vince’s neurotic no-hoper brother Johnny (Kevin Dillon), every character possesses traits and tendencies that we know are drawn from the real life inhabitants of the gilded cage that is Hollywood.

Entourage poster

A brief pre-credits party sequence picks up the story just 9 days after Vince’s wedding, the impending event upon which the final episode culminated. Anybody with any knowledge of these characters will not be surprised to learn of the reasons for this particular celebration. From here, we jump forward eight months to find Vince about to embark on his next project, but only on the proviso that he also gets to direct the action, much to the chagrin of Ari and his triumvirate of hangers-on in Johnny, Turtle (Joey Ferrara) and Eric (Kevin Connolly). From here, a good portion of the movie revolves around Ari’s efforts to prevent both the movie and his own career from imploding. It is so much fun as Ari pushes himself to the brink in his efforts to somehow satisfy the expectations of his bosses, his number one client, his long suffering wife (Perrey Reeves) and Texan billionaire Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton), whose money is funding a production that is over budget yet incomplete. When Vinnie demands more money, McCredle dispatches his shitheel son (Haley Joel Osment) to investigate. There are sub-plots for each of the key characters, including the continuing on-again-off-again relationship saga involving Eric and a very pregnant Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui). What’s great about this disparate group is the fact that there is an unwavering sense of loyalty that never dissipates regardless of the myriad messes in which they find themselves, both individually and collectively.

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All the series regulars appear, including Lloyd (Rex Lee), Shauna (Debbie Mazar), Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro) and Dana Gordon (Constance Zimmer), while Emily Ratajkowsky (Gone Girl), MMA fighter Ronda Rousey and Australia’s own Alan Dale also feature prominently. The list of actors, sports stars, musicians and moguls who appear at various times is endless, but a gibberish-spouting Gary Busey and a petulant Jessica Alba are among several piss-taking cameos that are in keeping with the premise of a film/series that has been firmly fixated on mocking the lifestyle of the Hollywood elite. So much of the humour in Entourage comes from the way in which it showcases the dysfunction within the industry, from sex tapes to the power struggles within the studios to the decadent lifestyles and egomaniacal behaviours of stars big and small, young and old.

Entourage 1

Written and directed by series creator Doug Ellin, who also helmed 96 episodes on the small screen, Entourage is a hell of a lot of fun. Other than a new opening credit sequence, the movie looks and feels just like a typical episode – only longer – which certainly isn’t a bad thing because the various performers are now so comfortable in the skin of these characters. Despite the bravado and the incessant verbal jousting amongst the boys, there is a real sense of camaraderie that is far less fleeting than the fame and fortune that comes their way. There is no doubt that a familiarity with the television series will add significant context to proceedings, but those experiencing Entourage for the first time should still find plenty to enjoy.  Ellin has concluded this big screen foray at a logical end point that still leaves plenty to the imagination for those who wish to contemplate what the future may hold for the various players.

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