Despite things being nicely wrapped up at the end of its final season, Entourage returns for a big screen excursion. Althought it became more almost cult-like outside of the States, it was nonetheless a huge hit domestically for premium American cabler HBO and a film had long been mooted.
Fans of the series will be more than happy to find that this is pretty much an extended episode, with a barrage of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cameos. That said, the spark that was so evident in the earlier seasons has been dampened somewhat here, and it subsequently feels more in line with material from the inferior latter seasons. It undoubtedly has its moments (thanks somewhat predictably to Piven and Dillon), but ultimately fails to scale the lofty heights of the early seasons.
Creator Doug Ellin returns to write and direct and has upped the stakes considerably; Ari is now the head of a studio that’s funding former star client Vinny Chase’s directorial debut, Hype. But Vinny has gone $15 million over budget and needs more dosh to finish the flick, which means Ari has to go to Texas to ask billionaire shareholder Billy Bob Thornton to sign off on the extra money. The catch? He refuses to do so until his deadbeat hick son (a great Hayley Joel Osment) has seen the movie and the gang have adhered to his notes.
Entourage was always designed to be a vehicle for men to live vicariously through, but there’s something comforting about seeing all of the guys back together on screen once again. As with the show, you don’t really care a great deal about some of the characters, yet are subjected to various subplots, like E impregnating his on/off other half, or (a now rich) Turtle attempting to date UFC star Rhonda Rousey. (Granted, the latter storyline, featuring Ferrera, actually offers some laughs – particularly an ongoing joke about how much money his tequila brand has made.)
When the film moves into fourth gear, however, it’s Piven who takes it there. His foulmouthed, irreverent Ari still by far the best thing about the series. Whether he’s being dissed by a huge celeb or arguing with his wife in front of their long-suffering therapist, he’s still hilarious and Piven is as great as ever in what’s destined to be his signature role.
Elsewhere, Dillon’s ‘Drama’ actually manages to carry a bit of weight instead of being solely the fall guy, although he ultimately become the butt of a big joke towards the end. Nevertheless, Dillon is consistently game to take the piss out of himself, and it shows.
Fans of the series will find lots here to enjoy, but newcomers may struggle to find interest in the subplots of less interesting characters. That said, Entourage: The Movie is still a solid night in your local multiplex if you’re not feeling the blockbusters.