“Fan fiction in film form” is how Brian Tallerico, writing for RogerEbert.com, describes this feature length continuation of the hugely popular HBO television show. Though strongly criticising the film’s predictability, a significant point is made nonetheless; this one is for the fans. If you have never seen Entourage before then this definitely isn’t for you. If you’ve dabbled in a couple of episodes (god knows how you could do so without getting hooked), it probably isn’t for you either. This reviewer then openly offers the perspective of someone who unashamedly loved the original television show.
Running from 2004-2011 Entourage followed the adventures of Vincent Chase, an emerging movie star from New York, who along with his best friends Turtle and E (also his manager) as well as elder half-brother and failed B-movie star Johnny ‘Drama’ attempt to make it big in Hollywood with the help of agent Ari Gold. Loosely based on Mark Wahlberg’s own experiences, the show gave less of a realistic insight into pursuing the dream of acting and more an entertaining journey into how it might feel to be rich and popular in a place where being rich and popular is everything. Entourage never attempted to critique or provide much of a comment on such a lifestyle, and so the movie is very much in the same vain.
Following on from the admittedly poor final season, Vince’s former agent Ari is now head of the major studio that is financing the star’s next film. This time however he’s not content with just acting – he will also be directing. So it follows that the gang attempt to deal with the numerous difficulties that arise due to the film being behind schedule, way over budget and a potential flop. The plot is pretty thin in places, there’s barely a hint of genuine character development and it throws up very few surprises in terms of narrative; everything works out in the end and the boys have as good a time as ever doing that which they love to do – partying excessively, meeting other celebrities (of which there are plenty thanks to the completely unnecessary number of cameos – even Thierry Henry makes an appearance) and dropping one liner’s at each other’s expense.
Much of the criticism levelled at the film focuses on the points I very briefly touch on above and are admittedly difficult to argue with. However, what many seem to overlook is that to view this film as an independent piece, rather than one part of a larger whole, is to miss much that it has to offer. What always made Entourage so appealing was everything that this group of friends shared together – the many ridiculous situations they found themselves in, the rejection they faced, the success they achieved and the embarrassing past experiences they’d never let each other forget. In this respect the film merely continues where the series left off, which will be to the delight of its fans but will be difficult to grasp and appreciate for those going in blind.
Doug Ellin’s feature length is very much part of the Entourage universe he has built; a universe which from day one has invited us into a hedonistic fantasy in which a complete acceptance of having fun in the present moment rules and where care for the outcome of actions is barely even an afterthought. By fantasy I mean the sort that, given serious thought, you wouldn’t actually want to live out because it would surely leave you empty and hollow, but the idea of it is tempting, exciting and intriguing enough to warrant some mischievous consideration – which is why it’s brought to life for our enjoyment on the screen.
It’s been described as little more than a feature length episode of the show, but if you had offered this notion to Entourage fans beforehand many would have surely taken it. We get everything we need here, complete with a couple of surprising and hilarious supporting roles from Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment. The jokes may have been lost on some, but for fans of the show this is exactly what the doctor ordered.