Much has been discussed about the representation of many aspects of the big screen translation of HBO’s TV smash, Entourage. It’s sexist, it’s crass, it’s shallow, it’s full of itself and its more than a little stereotypical. And it’s brilliant.
The show enjoyed its original run from 2004-2011 and followed the rising star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), his manager E (Kevin Connelly), his half-brother Johnny ‘Drama’ (Kevin Dillon) and his entrepreneurial dogsbody Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) as they navigate Hollywood and stardom under the wing of super-agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven).
Now without discussing 8 series worth of plot, the film picks up directly after the final frame of series 8 and – a plot explanation for the new watchers from Piers Morgan later – it is not long before we’re rattling along in the world which now sees Vinnie directing his debut feature and now studio head Ari running around trying to secure the additional funding required to complete the $100 million masterpiece. So far, so very ‘Entourage’ – this is exactly what to expect along the way.
There are plots for E, Drama and Turtle but let’s make no mistake, this is Ari’s film. Given that Piven was the aspect of the show which consistently garnered glowing reviews and awards, it is easy to see why the film has been hung so clearly around his neck – and he carries it wonderfully. The insults, back and forth with former assistant Lloyd, the constant movement and frantic nature, Ari is always watchable and hangs everything together.
With the shows tendency to err on the side of cameos, there is namesaplenty – which will not all be ruined here – one in particular is the budding romance between UFC fighter Ronda Rousey and the now-skinny Turtle which could be a spin-off romcom all on its own. Suffice to say that there is room for many of your favourite characters from the series to at least make an appearance.
The world does feel fantastical, with nobody getting stuck in traffic, jumping in private helicopters, beachside film screenings et al. However this is exactly the tone that Entourage aims for. It unapologetically jumps for the toys you’ll never have, the women you’ll never meet and the house you’ll never live in. That’s precisely the point. Similar with the humour: yes it can be on the wrong side of sexism and some of Ari’s insults are over the mark but that is what Entourage has always been. It’d be like being down on an Aaron Sorkin script for being wordy or a Tarantino film for pastiching everything he finds cool; that’s just the way it is.
The fun comes from seeing the bromance back together again taking shots and enjoying the life they’ve built. As usual, Drama and his pigheadedness get the lions share of the laughs of the 4 and himself becomes the butt of many a joke.
Ultimately it is inconsequential and does feel like 4 episodes put together but what more can you want? The light-hearted fun of the show was part of its appeal and something it lost in its later series so to see the boys back with all the panache they had in their prime is nothing to be sniffed at.