Keeping with the format of Sex and the City, HBO gives Entourage a theatrical send off that feels less like a movie and more as four episodes strung together. There’s not much of a leap from the format of the TV series, sticking close to its old formula as if this were the beginning of a new series. Or possibly another movie. It happened with the Sex and the City movie anyway.
The Entourage movie does little to stand on its own, acting more as a reunion special than a theatrical movie. Vincent (Adrian Grenier) and his crew have grown since the series finale, but no more than if the show continued on for a couple of seasons. Tired of just being an actor, Vinnie now aspires to direct and star in his own picture. He rallies his troops of bros and friends to make the picture a reality. Fast forward to the completion of the picture and Vinnie finds himself at odds with the worried Texan of a producer (Billy Bob Thorton). Namely, the producer’s spoiled brat of a son (Haley Joel Osment) who becomes consumed with sexual jealousy that he aims to sabotage the movie with recuts and recasting.
That would be enough of a plot for a movie, but a slew subplots are pushed into the mix to give every character enough to do. Ari (Jeremy Piven) reluctantly dives back into being an agent despite having retired and trying to work out his anger issues. Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) is still grappling with his acting career, but still has trouble with connecting to others in his cocky tone. Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) has now lost weight, made some money and is seeking to share his life with someone special. And Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly) finds himself dealing with a serious relationship as he enters into fatherhood.
If you think that’s too many subplots to cram in, just watch how the movie crams in as many celebrity cameos as it can. No less than 30 recognizable celebrities pop in to play more or less themselves. Liam Neeson tells Ari to piss off at a stoplight. Bob Saget attempts to woo some younger ladies at a party. Kelsey Grammer departs angrily from a therapist’s office – remarking to Ari about how ineffective his sessions were. Mark Wahlberg chats with Vinnie at an editing studio about his Ted movies that he hopes will never end. And the list goes on and on with cameo after cameo of celebrities mocking themselves with in-jokes and movie-related banter. For a movie buff, there’s a laugh to be had from a handful of these scenes, but the comedy of it all does start to wear a bit thin by the 28th cameo.
Why so many? The Entourage series is probably most notable for such comedy that comes in small bursts rather than engrossing arcs. As such, the movie extends itself to be a collection of episodes that proceeds so quickly through all the beats you don’t get the feeling of a send-off. More importantly, it doesn’t improve on or grow these characters past their usual personalities, only finding more celebrities hi-jinks for them to get into. So if you didn’t like these entitled boys before, you’re sure as heck not going to like them in this movie either. And even calling it a movie is stretching its writing a bit. Despite some smiles and chuckles here and there, the Entourage movie just ultimately left me wanting more from a picture that delivers modest laughs amid a rather shallow story. There’s no reason to care all that much if the movie Vinnie makes is a success because we know it will be. All you can do is distract yourself with the sex, vulgarities and cameos.
Entourage refuses to evolve, resolve or put an end to the bad boys of Hollywood. I didn’t feel like I was watching a movie so much as a handful of episodes from the show. And if that’s all a movie can offer you, you’re better off just watching the show instead.