Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Entourage

3.5/4

Starring: Jeremy Piven, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connelly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Hayley Joel Osment

Rated R for Pervasive Language, Strong Sexual Content, Nudity and Drug Use

"Entourage" will only appeal to its core audience: guys, and maybe a few girls, who are in their 20's and 30's.  This is, like "Swingers" and any given "Frat Pack" movie...in other words, it's a "bro" comedy.  Older viewers and certain politically correct people will find this movie dull or even offensive.  After all, it's about a quartet of friends (plus the foul-mouthed agent) with more money than they know what to do with trying to score and party as much as possible.  It's "Sex and the City" for guys.

Much as the series did, "Entourage" follows Vincent Chase (Grenier), now one of the biggest guys in Hollywood, and his three best friends: his manager Eric, or "E" for short (Connelly), his half-brother Johnny aka "Drama" (Dillon), and Turtle (Ferrara), his driver.  Vinnie's agent, Ari Gold (Piven), is now the head of a studio and wants his biggest client to star in it for him.  But Vinnie has a catch: he wants to direct it.

"Entourage" has always been about being a wish-fulfillment fantasy: having insane amounts of money, fame, and being able to have sex with just about any hot guy/girl you come across...and enjoying it with your best buddies.  Writer/director Doug Ellin, who created the series, remembers this, and that's what makes this movie so much fun.  We are there in the thick of Hollywood, amid the pressure, politics and creativity.  And yet, in a way, this stuff is second place compared to the "buddy movie" aspect of it.  It's not what the story is about, but that's where the film's heart is at...if that makes any sense.

The acting is great, although that's to be expected.  The actors are simply resurrecting the characters they played for 8 years.  The scene stealer is, of course, Jeremy Piven.  As the fast-talking, short tempred Ari, Piven exhibits the same appeal that makes all fast-talking, short tempered characters so much fun.  Piven has some of the best lines and funniest moments.  Billy Bob Thornton and Hayley Joel Osment play two financiers who are holding up the extra funding that Vinnie needs to finish editing his movie.  Thornton is only on screen for a few scenes, but Osment has a substantial supporting role, and he's quite good.  That said, since there are many famous actors who play themselves, shouldn't these two characters be played by unknowns?  It's not a big deal (the show did this sort of thing too), but it creates a bit of a disconnect.  If nothing else, it would have helped some actors get their big break.

The film is littered with celebrity cameos, as you can imagine.  Everyone from Liam Neeson (whose appearance is hilarious) to Warren Buffett.  Few have much more to do than say a few lines, if that, but MMA fighter Ronda Rousey has a large role as a girl Turtle is pursuing.  She has a natural talent and feels totally comfortable in front of the camera.  And she understands the concept of comic timing.

I saw a few episodes of the TV show a while back (it was right around the time that Vinnie came out with the "Aquaman" movie) and liked what I saw.  I don't know why I fell out of watching it, since I still replay some of the scenes I saw in my head, but as soon as I can find a hundred bucks from underneath the couch, I'm going to pick up the entire series on Blu Ray.

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