“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.. It has no survival value, rather it gives value to survival.. True friendship is almost more rare than true love, as there is nothing in it for anyone.” -C.S. Lewis
Movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), together with his boys Eric, Turtle, and Johnny, are back – and back in business with super agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold on a risky project that will serve as Vince’s directorial debut.
The television show, Entourage, premiered on HBO in 2004 to mildly successful ratings and heavy critic favor. Cut to over ten years later and it seems the shoe is on the other foot. The TV show came to a somber close in 2011 to heavy fan appeal and some critical disdain. Writing for a website aptly titled “Bro Knows Movies” it’s important to point out the obvious. Entourage is a movie for the bros. It’s a movie for the fans. It’s a movie for best friends. It’s a movie for the envious. Entourage is now and will forever be the best of all lifestyle porn. The TV show wasn’t always great, but good or bad it didn’t seem to matter, all we wanted to do as fans is hang out with this group of guys. This brilliant band of buddies that conveyed the type of loyalty any individual would hope for in any relationship. All we want to do as fanatics of the show is hang out with the guys we so badly wish to emulate, as they set out on their life journey’s separately, but together. Regardless of what you think of the show, the film, the acting, or the direction, this is still a lesson in friendship and a pretty damn good one.
The film opens a few short days following where the series ended, as we join the group en route to a yacht party with newly single Vince (Amazing to think Vinny Chase would get divorced as quickly as he got married right?). The movie opens with an honest line from treasured cast mate and fan favorite Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillon) peering through binoculars and gleefully shouting “I’m gonna have to jerk it before we even get there” as only Johnny can do. This is comedic foreshadowing to the audience about what they’re about to get. By the end of this film, the audience will walk out of theater with the same feeling that I imagine others have when they exit a happy ending massage parlor, a little dirty, a little cheap, and a whole lot satisfied. Entourage is little more than a two hour episode romp through this Hollywood playground, with the cast and characters we love so damn much.
The productions is bigger, the story is bigger, the cameos are bigger, but the guys.. Well they’re the same old guys we hung out with for eight years, which is not a knock, contrarily it’s blissfully refreshing. Vinny is looking to move forward with his career, and in attempt to broaden his scope, he convinces now studio head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) to allow him to direct and star in his next picture. Skip ahead a few months via movie magic and Vinny and Manager/Producer/Best friend Eric (Kevin Connolly) are now pandering to Ari for more money to finish the already over budget faux film “Hyde.” Ari, who is trying his best to not repeat his sins as an agent, shows some of the classic bursts of anger and sarcasm we’re so accustomed to seeing. On top of the monetary issues, which set in motion the central storyline for the film, we also get a chance to see a newer, richer Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and the same old Drama. The film may have set a new record for cameo appearances. Everywhere you go there are celebrities and athletes, and it all feels so perfectly surreal, because, well, this is Hollywood and those people are actually all over the place there.
Entourage essentially is a vehicle for this group of friends to meander through lavish set pieces just kind of hanging out. There are several sub plots involving the guys romantic liaisons (everyone gets one except Drama). These little detours might have been more effective if the female side characters were a little more developed, however they’re reduced to walking cliches and are pretty much just arm candy. Sexist? maybe. Chauvinist? probably. Insensitive? possibly, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s all just entertainment, the audience is not flocking to the theaters to see Vince fall in love with a complex and wholly interesting strong woman. They kind of already tried that with the TV show and nobody cared. No we all want to see Vince be the pretty boy floating head that sleeps with a different beautiful women every couple weeks. This time around he gets to sidle up to the gorgeous Emily Ratajkowski. Eric and Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) have their own detour as well. Sloane is pregnant and about to go into labor any day, and her and Eric are still not together (ugh..). Then there is Turtle, who tries his hand at romancing the baddest women on the planet in Ronda Rousey. This is probably the most interesting relationship side story, and also the most fun. Ferrara and Rousey actually have solid chemistry and Ferrara is able to mask some of her inefficiencies as an actress. The issue is the female characters reactions are all cartoonish. From Sloan to Rousey their all capricious, so quickly dismissive that it’s almost as if, in this movie, women are just a problem to be solved.
Entourage is, above all else, wildly fun. It is wet raunchy entertainment that will have a large circle of fans rolling on the floor with all the situational hijinks. It’s a wholly beautiful film written with the fans in mind. Doug Ellin is in touch with his audience, and brings Entourage to the big screen with a deftness for the demographic that you don’t see too often. It’s shallow and superficial in how it tasks certain relationships, but this never hinders the film in anyway. The reason the filth and the follies are so forgivable are because this film isn’t about how it’s side characters are handled or dismantled. No it’s all about us getting together with our guys again. The depth of the characters and relationships are all saved for the core group. We get a chance to revisit these individuals and appreciate what they have, and more importantly, who they have. It’s glamorous, and hyperbolic, and full of moronic messages (like find a friend to leech off of until you get rich by association), but none of that matters. Those negative thematics are gone as quickly as they came for the audience. What we are left with, at it’s bare bones, is a story about a great group of friends, just being friends. Vinny Chase always says that it doesn’t matter what happens, because they can all just go back to Queens. The central message isn’t about treating women like objects. It isn’t about standing with your hand out, mooching off of your friends. It’s not about movie stars and bright lights. What Entourage is all about, and what it’s always been about, is the fleeting notion of true friendship, and unrequitedly loyalty. Entourage is successful, because it makes its audience jealous, and not jealous of the money, the cars or the women, but jealous of the friendships that have lasted more than a decade, and will likely soldier on long after the film ends.
4/5 Pretty Cool Bro