Jeremy Piven portrayal as onetime agent Ari Gold single-handedly saves the film
Fans of TV series Entourage have waited four years for the return of the hit comedy-drama. After a phenomenal eight-year run on the HBO Network, the loosely-biographical show, produced by Mark Wahlberg, returns to our screens, this time in film format.
For those who have never seen the TV series, Entourage is an American comedy-drama created and written by Doug Ellin. It follows the lavish lifestyle of movie star Vincent Chase and his childhood friends from Queens, aka his “entourage”. Produced by Mark Wahlberg, Entourage’s premise is loosely based on Wahlberg’s experiences as an up-and-coming film star and is best known for its fleeting celebrity cameo appearances.
Entourage The Movie takes off from where series finished, reuniting the original characters. The film opens with superstar Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) lounging on a huge yacht mourning the dissolution of his nine-day marriage. He’s waiting for his childhood buddies turn up on a speedboat, including his best friend-turned-manager Eric (Kevin Connolly), driver-turned-tequila magnate Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and has-been older brother Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillon).
Vince has convinced his onetime agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) who is now the head of an entire studio, to let him try his hand directing a $100 million dollar movie called Hyde. Vince has gone over budget so Ari has to head to Texas to wheedle more funds out of Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton) who’s underwriting the studio’s budget. But before he’ll sign a cheque, Larsen dispatches his son Travis (Haley Joel Osment) to LA to check out the rough cut who threatens to ruin the film with his inane notes and editing demands.
Entourage never had strong (or serious) storylines and very little has changed in the film version. Amongst the gaseous mix of booze, weed, cars and women, the main characters are each dealing with their own mini-crisis. As Eric awaits the birth of his first child with ex-girlfriend Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), Vince pursues a relationship with model Emily Ratajkowski. Turtle tries to woo UFC fighter Ronda Rousey while Johnny Drama stresses that his role in Hyde will be cut. The best scenes however belong to Ari (Jeremy Piven) who has to juggle studio politics with the unwelcome Texan collaborator, as well as couples therapy sessions with his long-suffering wife (Perrey Reeves).
Aside from the loose storyline, the film’s biggest stumbling block is that it struggles to fill the big screen. Writer-director Doug Ellin has essentially created an extended TV episode, stuffing in twice as many models and celebrity cameos (42 to be precise) from Armie Hammer to Warren Buffett. That aside, the returning cast members are clearly having fun.
Adrian Grenier plays a strong role as charismatic Vincent Chase even if his lines are few and far between so therefore spends most of the movie looking pretty. Kevin Connolly returns as Eric, Vince’s best friend-turned-manager as does Jerry Ferrara as Turtle who’s dramatic weight loss is the butt of many jokes. Executive producer Mark Wahlberg manages to plug both the Ted sequel and his reality show “Wahlburgers” in his minute-long cameo. But its Jeremy Piven’s portrayal of smarmy Ari who single-handedly saves the film. Piven displays some thoroughly sharp comic timing which make his scenes particularly funny. The scene where he punches a picture of a cat in his therapist’s office is particularly hilarious and the film is worth a watch even if it’s just to see Piven in action.
Entourage was released in the US on 3 June and has received mixed reviews from critics. Benjamin Lee from The Guardian called it “a solidly entertaining summer comedy” while Sheri Linden from Hollywood Reporter said the “movie plays like a compressed Season 9 – a season that has its moments but wouldn’t rank among the show’s finest”.
All in all, Entourage isn’t going to change the world but it was never meant to. If you don’t take it too seriously, the film is pretty enjoyable and is a nice reunion of the characters for the fans.
Entourage is officially released in UK cinemas on 19 June.
Entourage – Official Main Trailer
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