KEVIN CONNOLLY   ADRIAN GRENIER   KEVIN DILLON   JERRY FERRARA   JEREMY PIVEN   

entourage

 Having never seen the hit HBO series, the script here does allow non-viewers to enjoy the plot and characters. Loosely based on the beginning of Mark Wahlberg’s career (series and film executive producer) without the violent past; Entourage is a more entertaining buddy-movie than any of The Hangover films. The film directed by Doug Ellin (the show’s creator), opens with the coolest credits I’ve seen all year and roles into a fun, snarky, and satirical dig at Hollywood. I left the film feeling like Entourage understands the ridiculousness of the Los Angeles film industry, how they sabotage their own films, and most interesting to me, that the greatest films in cinema are created outside this vial system.

 Vince (Grenier) has decided to star in his former manager, now studio head’s, first big budget project. The only catch, he also wants to direct the $100 million dollar project. Ari Gold (Piven), the fast talking pusher bets everything on Vince, whom he discovered in a Mentos commercial launching his career. After blowing the budget on special effects, Vince and producer Eric (Connolly) need more money to finish it. This requires Gold heading to Amarillo, Texas, begging more money from the films financier Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton) and dopey son Travis (Haley Joel Osment). Travis returns with Gold to make notes on the film, demanding Vince’s brother, struggling two-bit actor Johnny Drama (Dillon) cut out of the film.

 Entourage plays like a sitcom with structural beats and segmented editing, but it’s clear these guys have been carefully adapted to the big screen. Identifying their specific character traits for a new audience, might be tedious for those already familier. Wahlberg is just one of the many cameos in the film that built an entire show around celebrities portraying fictionalized versions of themselves. For the most part Entourage feels like a serious comedy taking many jabs at Tinsel Town and the celebrity lifestyle, which of course the main characters here are very much apart. Take Connolly’s character: one ex in Lamaze class, pregnant with his child; another thinks she might be pregnant and he just hooked up with a third last night.

 Three time Emmy winner Jeremy Piven finally gets to show the rest of the world why Ari Gold is the best element of the show. His segment of the film focuses more on Hollywood studio politics and it becomes very clear that insider knowledge fuels some of the scenes where ambivalent producers try to use their own agendas to sabotage films they don’t understand. Grenier being the “star” of the film, the fictionalized Wahlberg role, is the least interesting part of the movie. The guys regularly prove their entire afternoon can change if a hot girl crosses their path which leads the plot down less interesting paths to satisfy the HBO nudity clause. Subplots with Johnny Drama feel more like Hangover material, and poor unrecognizable Osment (The Sixth Sense) is the films weakest element.

 Final Thought – An enjoyable, sarcastic dig at Hollywood even for audiences unfamiliar with the show.

 Grade B-

By: Dustin Chase