ENTOURAGE
Author: J.A. Hyde
June 3, 2015

SYNOPSIS: "Entourage," the much-anticipated big-screen version of the award-winning hit HBO series, reunites the show's original cast, led by Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara and Jeremy Piven. Movie star Vincent Chase (Grenier), together with his boys, Eric (Connolly), Turtle (Ferrara) and Johnny (Dillon), are back...and back in business with super agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold (Piven). Some of their ambitions have changed, but the bond between them remains strong as they navigate the capricious and often cutthroat world of Hollywood.

I never watched the HBO series Entourage , but I think that may have been why I liked the film better than many fans have according to early reviews. I knew basically what it was about and who the main characters were, but that was about it. Sure, it’s a boys’ club movie with plenty of T & A and F-bombs, but that’s exactly what I expected. It’s crude and bawdy, but it’s nowhere nearly as shocking as the first Hangover film was. Of course, if you’re easily offended, you shouldn’t go, but I really doubt anyone is going to attend by accident. I thought it was laugh-out-loud hilarious, but that may have been because the characters and situations were new to me.

Even folks who didn’t watch the series know that it’s about an A-list movie star, Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), his agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), and Chase’s “posse” of boyhood friends. Well, Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) is actually his older half-brother. Eric (Kevin Connally) is Vince’s manager, and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) is his driver. That’s how they’re described anyway, but they’re really just a bunch of boy-men hanging out and trying to get a little. Gold, on the other hand, is a Type-A, driven personality with considerable anger issues. Vince and his boys may not be too bright, but they’re intensely loyal to one another. Mainly, all of these actors are very, very funny.

Apparently, the film opens where the series left off, with Ari in Italy with his family but ready to return to LA as the new studio head. Vince is on his yacht off the island of Ibiza, partying while trying to get over the dissolution of his 9-day marriage. The boys show up, join the party, and Ari calls with the news of Vince’s next film offer. Vince decides he must direct it, a doubtful Ari gives him a budget, Vince predictably goes over-budget. Cut to Texas where Ari has gone to try to get more money from the film’s primary investor, Larsen McCreadle (Billy Bob Thornton). Larsen is reluctant, but sends his loser son, Travis (Haley Joel Osment) along to have a look at the production. Of course, problems ensue.

Meanwhile, Vince has been sort of seeing Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Emily Ratajkowski (playing herself), Eric has been attending Lamaze classes with his on again-off-again girlfriend Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), and Turtle has fallen for MMA fighter Rhonda Rousey (playing herself). Johnny is preparing to audition for a bit-part on The Mentalist. As you would expect, misunderstandings create chaos as a backdrop for the completion (or not) of Vince’s film, HYDE. All will eventually be resolved, but maybe not in exactly the way you’d expect. But that’s the fun of it!

As in the HBO series, there are many, many cameos of famous folks from several walks of life.

Even if you don’t know anything at all about Entourage, not to worry. Director Doug Ellin, also the primary writer, gets you up to speed by beginning the story line with Piers Morgan interviewing Ari. You’ll learn everything you need to know during this scene. At other times, characters who were regulars on the series fill in information about themselves through dialog. I think that this may not sit well with fans of the HBO series because they already know this information. I, conversely, appreciated it because I never felt lost. I felt as if I’d known these guys forever.

Entourage definitely leaves the door open for more films, and if it does well, you can probably expect at least two more. Hopefully, they’ll do a better job than the two Hangover sequels did. I say, go see it and have fun!- JoAnne Hyde

GRADE: B


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