The best thing you can say about the seemingly unlikely Entourage movie is that it’s true to the HBO series that inspired it. If you’ve long enjoyed the antics of Vince, E, Turtle, Drama and Ari, there’s no reason why you won’t get the same satisfaction out of watching the movie.
If you’ve never seen Entourage however, or never cared for the HBO series to begin with, then the Entourage movie has precious little to offer. Like the duo of Sex and the City movies that HBO somehow managed to launch into theatres, Entourage feels like it’s explicitly designed for established fans who simply aren’t willing to let the show go. It doesn’t really make any effort to catch anyone else up, which is perhaps why it’s been critically panned out of the gate.
Another more likely reason however, putting aside the fandom or lack thereof that audiences may have toward Entourage going in, is that the Entourage movie is a narrative disaster. It’s an over-stuffed mess of celebrity cameos, disparate plot arcs constantly fighting for attention, and cop-out resolutions that leave the whole affair feeling rather pointless. That is perhaps the worst sin of the Entourage movie, in fact. It doesn’t justify itself, and it doesn’t need to exist.
If all you want is a reunion with the Entourage personalities, then the movie offers that, for what it’s worth. Again though, if you’re not already an avid fan of the HBO series, that probably isn’t worth much.
Entourage assumes you’re already well familiar with its lead personalities. If you’re counting on the movie upending the status quo, don’t, because these men haven’t changed a bit. Pretty boy movie star, Vince is still a pretty boy movie star. E is still the spineless brains of the group. Turtle is still the silly one. Drama is still the under-appreciated half-sibling. Ari Gold is still a workaholic prick. For fans, it’s familiar territory, and for everyone else, it’s stuff that they’ll need to mainly establish by going back and watching the HBO series.
Without spoilers, some of the characters make some movement in the movie. With things picking up a mere few months after the series ended, we have Ari as a studio head, E and Sloan having a baby, and hey, Vince apparently wants to direct now. The movie, in fairness, at least tries to push things forward, to a point. The best arc it can come up with for Turtle is chasing around MMA fighting superstar, Ronda Rousey, after all. Seems like not everyone can grow up in the leap to the big screen.
But does anyone truly do anything of consequence, or real note in the Entourage movie? Not really. Like I said, these men have not changed, even in their attempts to chart new territory. The movie’s ending presents a major change for at least one character, but we have no time to enjoy it, thanks to the abrupt conclusion that feels like it comes out of nowhere. Even for avid Entourage fans, that will no doubt prove frustrating.
The Entourage movie attempts to set up a new villain to raise the stakes at least, in spoiled investor’s son, Travis McCredle, played by an overweight and scruffy Haley Joel Osment. Osment isn’t a bad antagonist either, at least not in terms of his portrayal. The writing for Travis however ultimately feels like a waste, since the movie sets him up as an underestimated force that proves surprisingly formidable at first, only to later give him the most idiotic of motivations, which completely ruins him as a bad guy. Billy Bob Thornton portrays Travis’ father, Larsen McCredle, and he also would have made a solid antagonist, if the movie had actually given him something to do, not just saddled with him about five minutes of thankless screentime.
And all of this comes before the onslaught of celebrity cameos, which are extremely uneven. Some of them, like Gary Busey and David Faustino, make sense, and are neat callbacks to the HBO series. Others, like Ronda Rousey or Emily Ratajkowski, actually get solid bearing on the storyline, and feel meaningful to include. Others however, like Ed O’Neill, Armie Hammer, Kelsey Grammer, Liam Neeson, Jessica Alba, and several others that were publicized, basically just feel tossed in at random, occasionally getting a single throwaway laugh, or at least keeping continuity after an appearance on the HBO series, but mostly feeling pointless. A good chunk of the cameo actors feel like they’re only there to add names to the cast, and naturally splash all over the trailers, even though some of the featured celebrities appear for less than ten seconds, and in some cases not even speaking!
Moreover, the celebrity cameos and throwaway gags also feel like an indication that the script just can’t come up with enough interesting material for its actual characters to satisfy the mandated runtime, which isn’t surprising, considering that this is a 104-minute movie adapted from a half-hour HBO series. They come off as a distraction to try and compensate for the fact that, again, the Entourage movie doesn’t justify its existence. That’s especially true of how little novelty it has to offer for its well-established personalities, almost all of whom feel like they’ve still gone nowhere by the movie’s conclusion.
Ohhh, dear. The Entourage movie’s storyline is one of those special hot messes that simultaneously feels like it has both too much plot, and no plot at all.
The core of the movie kicks off with Ari getting in touch with Vince, after Vince leaves his wife following just nine days of marriage (because who needs character maturity and definitive conclusions, right?), and offering Vince a new movie deal. Vince will take the deal on one condition; That he gets to not only star in it, but also direct it.
This seems like an interesting start to the Entourage movie, and Vince’s fictional movie, ‘Hyde’ does at least serve as most of the connective tissue behind the movie’s story arcs. Even then though, the Entourage movie feels like it continually gets off track. Despite its reasonably appealing foundation, it can’t just pick a singular conflict. First, it’s Vince running out of money, and having to beg Ari for it, even when he’s way over budget. Ok, fine. Oh, but then Vince is worried about the movie sucking. Ok, reasonable, especially if he’s over-budget. Oh, but then apparently the movie is amazing, but now the investors are nosing in. Getting a bit away from the original conflict, but it could happen. BUT THEN, Ari is somehow in trouble, despite Vince’s carelessness and the investor’s son clearly abusing his say in the project (what?!), and then the movie becomes about him. BUT THEN, amidst all that, Drama is threatened to be cut out, except then it’s about Vince again when the investor’s son wants to cut him out, and then all the while, Turtle is somehow trying to get Ronda Rousey to go out with him, while E is trying to make good with Sloan, yet also seeing other women because they broke up, except they didn’t, and… Yeah, you get the idea. This script is an absolute mess!
Entourage has to be one of the most scatterbrained movies that has released all year so far. It’s all over the place! As I said, the movie is a narrative disaster, constantly bringing up new conflicts, and then abandoning them as soon as it gets bored of them. The movie comes off like it has narrative ADD, especially since it’s full of some of the most frustratingly contrived cop-out resolutions that you can imagine. Yes, the HBO series was also full of cop-out resolutions that undermined its own attempts at drama, so fans probably won’t notice this in the movie, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Entourage movie is constantly getting in its own way, attempting to raise the stakes and create real consequences for its characters, only to have them hurried off as pranks or half-baked plots that were bound to fail. It’s very annoying.
Yet again, this also contributes to the Entourage movie feeling like a complete waste of time for non-fans as well. It’s clearly not interested in pushing the envelope, nor bringing in new fans, when it can just re-tap the same well of established followers, so why even bother bringing it to theatres? Why not just air it on HBO, like the former series? If Entourage is going to justify people paying box office prices to go see in theatres, or even just rent on home viewing when it arrives, it needs to offer something beyond what the series offered on HBO in the past, whether it’s new stakes, whether it’s dramatic character changes, or whether it’s the kind of ambitious new plot that the HBO series couldn’t accommodate.
The Entourage movie doesn’t try for any of that. It just comes off as feeling like a narratively apathetic cash grab to series fans who can’t let go, even after this story ended already.
Series creator, Doug Ellin directs the Entourage movie, along with writing it and producing it. Cool, right? That’s certainly good news if you’re a fan, to know that the movie is in the same hands that brought you the HBO series that you already love.
But, here’s the issue; Ellin seems to be noticeably afraid of upsetting Entourage fans, to the point where he doesn’t bother taking any risks with the movie whatsoever. His direction comes off as creating a stitched-together Entourage miniseries of episodes, rather than something that feels like an actual feature film, meant for theatres. Any attempt he makes to push the characters into new territory, or create interesting new conflicts for them, he constantly wimps out of. Even with some of the results that occur by the end of the movie, it still feels like these characters are in the same place, doing the same thing, and they haven’t learned a damn thing along the way. Maybe that’s how fans like it, but unlike TV shows that are expected to uphold a status quo, movies have to feel like they’re going somewhere to elicit audience investment, especially if they’re to become a franchise.
The Entourage movie effortlessly captures the feel of the HBO series, sure, but that’s not always a good thing. The style of the HBO series is a poor fit for the big screen, with Ellin’s direction feeling like it’s just creating easy wins and no real drama amongst its leads, or anyone else. The Entourage movie is deathly afraid of challenging its audience, but that doesn’t make for interesting direction. That just makes for a pandering vanity project on the part of a questionably popular HBO series that had no business continuing on after the end of its initial run.
The Entourage movie feels like a product that is immediately complacent from its own unlikely existence. It gives fans exactly what they want, but doesn’t present any new or interesting developments with its familiar personalities, at least none that actually go anywhere. Moreover, it does absolutely nothing to appeal to general moviegoers, relying heavily on previous investment with the HBO series to derive the entertainment value that it often struggles for with its messy, brainless script.
If you’re an Entourage fan, then go ahead and have fun with the movie. It will give you what you want. Anyone else had best not waste their time with HBO’s latest exercise in dragging out a series past its natural endpoint. Considering that the company is supposed to be offering a ‘Home Box Office’, it sure seems strange that they would want to undermine themselves by demanding a trip to an actual box office, especially when the trip won’t be worth it for most.
Still, it would be inaccurate to say that the Entourage movie is completely unfunny, or completely lacks entertainment value for non-fans. You’ll get a few chuckles and some amusement if this is your first meeting with the Entourage crew, but you could also just as easily skip this big screen offering, and stream some old Entourage episodes online, and achieve much of the same result, for better or for worse.
If Vince and the boys are going to take another stab at the big screen in future, hopefully they venture a bit further from their hilariously impractical comfort zone.
The Entourage movie will give avid fans of the HBO series the reunion with Vince's crew that they crave, but it carries absolutely zero appeal for anyone else, carelessly sauntering on to the big screen with a shallow, aimless script, an inability to actually challenge its characters, and no discernable reason to exist.
THE GOOD STUFF
Some funny moments
Follows the HBO series' style well
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
Completely wimps out of actually changing things up
Over-stuffed, aimless script with far too many stories fighting for attention