Stars: Adrian Grenier, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Billy Bo Thornton, Haley Joel Osmant, Perrey Reeves, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rex Lee, Debi Mazar, Ronda Rousey and Emily Ratajkowski.
Writer/Director: Doug Ellin.
Watch the trailer here.
The Y-chromosome fever dream that is the world of Entourage heats up from frame 1 in series creator Doug Ellin’s bigscreen adaptation of his hit property.
A barely-clad Nina Agdal, the most current incarnation of supermodel hotness on the planet, gives a sly grin as her binoculars focus in on Turtle (Jerrry Ferrara), Drama (Kevin Dillon) and E (Kevin Connolly) speeding towards the multi-million dollar party-cruiser moored in the azure playground off Ibiza. The boat belongs to Vinnie (Adrian Grenier), who has bounced back from a fleeting flirtation with marriage by bedding Agdal.
The supermodel knows that, like all of us who have followed the lads through their LA adventures over eight HBO seasons, Vinnie is really only a complete man when conjoined with his ‘bros’. When the lads are unified, this long-in-development, short-on-narrative feature is at its best, too; like much of the west coast movie scene, it is high on boisterous personality and lavish adherence to base instincts.
But Ellin’s more expansive take on Hollywood life has not transitioned to the 2.35:1 scope seamlessly intact. The punchy energy and ironic verve that was the trademark of the 30-minute episodes is gone, replaced by some meagre plotting that sees the boys seeking the sweetness of romance and ushering them into the responsibilities of growing old.
Vinnie’s $100million directing debut, a wannabe-tentpole called Hyde has been shepherded through production by ex-agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), who has graduated to studio head and rolled the dice on his old client’s vision of a blockbuster. None of this rings very true, which is at odds with the insider smarts that was one of the most endearing traits of the series. Needing fresh funds to finalise the film, Gold heads for Texas to woo financier Billy Bob Thornton, who puts his scumbag son Haley Joel Osmant in charge of the decision-making. Contrived machinations (mostly to do with the allure of it-girl Emily Ratajkowski) threaten Vinnie’s film and Ari’s job, as is to be expected.
As Vinnie’s business manager and first-time producer, Connolly’s E does very little of either, instead lumbered with a ‘babies vs boobs’ subplot that introduces some down-home moral goodness into the seething immorality of everyday A-list excess (perhaps to appeal to a broader movie-going base than the basic-cable followers of the series). Detractors who have wanted to nail Entourage for some borderline misogyny over the years get plenty of ammo in the form of two sexy starlets, who connive to frighten E into thinking he has fathered an unwanted child and caught an STD in the process.
Turtle romances cage-fighter Ronda Rousey, playing herself; Drama gets a few laughs doing what Drama does, struggling to build a career in the wake of his hotter, younger brother (as good as Dillon is, this should be the last time he plays an idealistic acting hopeful). Other series regulars (Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rex Lee, Perrey Reeves, Constance Zimmer, Debi Mazar, Rhys Coiro) are all shoe-horned in; celebrity cameos abound.
Just as Time Warner resurrected its other HBO cash cow, Sex and The City, so to it does with Entourage. Given the general mediocrity of both, their bigscreen re-emergence hardly seemed warranted; only time will tell if Entourage earns its existence as Sex... did. Marketers will reaffirm that this “is one for the fans,” and it certainly is warmly familiar (and, yes, this three-star review is unashamedly seen through the rose-coloured glasses of a fanatic). The brand will gather a second wind, DVD box-set sales will get a jolt, and Vinnie’s crew can now fade into the pop-culture ether.
One hopes they don’t make the same sequel-mistake as Carrie and the ‘girls’ made. The next real-world step for these ‘boys’ will be settling into the comforts of their wealthy west-coast lifestyles, firming up career opportunities and foregoing their wild ways in favour of maturity. If they don’t, it would be sad. And I wouldn’t want to watch it.