Director: Doug Ellin
Starring: Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jeremy Piven, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Dillon
I walked into the movie ‘Entourage’ knowing very little about the HBO television series, which ran from 2004 through 2011, that built enough of a cult following to command a feature length, big screen adaptation. I had never seen the show and had no idea what to expect going in, except for the fact that it was a movie about a group of rich friends living in Hollywood who were making a movie together. I wasn’t particularly excited for the movie; I didn’t think the humour would be my kind of comedy and the characters were not ones I could envisage relating to. However, I left the movie theatre genuinely satisfied. ‘Entourage’ made me laugh, it was well constructed, with good acting – not without some flaws of course, but not at all a waste of my money.
Movie agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) is now head of a studio which wants to make a movie called ‘Hyde’ based on the classic gothic story of Jekyll and Hyde. Ari wants his old friend – and arguably his best client – Vincent Chase to star in the movie. However, Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) will only star in the movie on the condition that he is allowed to direct it too. The movie takes off from there, flash forwarding to a time where ‘Hyde’ is nearing completion and needs to be edited and screened. Of course, now is the time for the all too familiar clash of creative minds versus non creative business executives. Aside from the narrative – which let’s be honest, isn’t the most important thing in a project like this – the rest of the film takes its inspiration from the successes of the television series with lots of parties, money and women. Shameless entertainment, but it works.
Again, I never saw the show and I did fear I would be at a disadvantage going in. However, after about fifteen minutes or so, I caught up with the bulk of the back story and learned about these friends and their different personalities. None of the characters were very relatable, but that’s likely because they live the high-life in Hollywood. I had a hard time connecting to any individual in the film and an equally hard to time truly liking any character. They weren’t bad people, nor were they good people. Filled with some loose morals, typical party girls, drug use, and alcoholism, this movie felt like a party with Charlie Sheen in his wilder moments. It was fun, crazy, and scattered about.
The movie dragged a bit towards the end; I was enjoying the film until the last thirty minutes where I started checking the time and wondering how much longer there was to go. Also, I get that the film takes place in Hollywood and therefore there is an opportunity to throw in lots of cameos from a variety of different stars, but it may have gone a little too far. It was a neat thing to have here and there, but lost its effect by the end of the film. The film has its issues, but also had strengths. While not all of the humor worked for me – there were running jokes I didn’t get because I never watched the series – enough of the humor was effective and I enjoyed it.
The characters were just likable enough for me not to hate them. They weren’t exactly the most sophisticated bunch, but they had their moments and their interaction with one another was top notch. Haley Joel Osment and Bill Bob Thornton were excellent additions to the cast. Ultimately, what I liked is that even though this group of friends are inclined to pull mean, spirited tricks on one another from time to time, they always end up having each others’ back in the most crucial moments. When things are good, these four friends are solid, and even when things start to fall apart, they stay close. The dialogue was crisp, the entire cast was solid and despite never watching a moment of the show, I wound up having a decent time at this movie.
If you enjoyed ‘Entourage’ as a television series, then I strongly suggest you watch this movie. You’ll be glad to know some of the issues that apparently plagued later seasons were cleaned up. I’m unsure what the plans are for the future of this franchise, but if this is the end, it was a fine ending for loyal fans. As for those of you like me who never watched the show, I think the movie is strong enough to stand on its own as a decent comedy about living the “good life” in Hollywood. The movie has plenty of laughs, good dialogue, and a resounding message of the value of friendship. Add in the acting of the main cast, and particularly Haley Joel Osment, and you have yourself a quality film.