Before Tyrion Lannister there was Ari Gold. And before Game of Thrones there was Entourage, one of three series that truly defined HBO (not including Six Feet Under). It brought a kind of satire not seen often in television, a humorous look into the glamour and materialistic bureaucracy of Hollywood from the perspective of an actor, his friends, and agent. I must confess to seeing only a few seasons and not the end, but it was more than enough to leave an impression. When I saw a theatrical follow-up was on the way, however, the potential quality of the adaptation came into question. Does Entourage do the show justice or does it make the Sex in the City films look like Citizen Kane?
Thankfully, as a stand-alone feature, Entourage holds its own on the silver screen. If you are fan or even passingly familiar with the series, the movie will make you feel right at home. There in lies the problem most film adaptations of television face. Though there is plenty of exposition to get the audience up to speed on the characters, non-fans will have trouble understanding why Ari is the better than everyone else and why Drama is Drama. It walks a very thin line between accessibility and exclusivity.
After a failed marriage, Vince gathers Drama, E, Turtle, and his agent Ari for a risky move into his directorial debut. When money troubles halt production, Ari uses his explosive anger and wit to secure funds at the cost of submitting to the prime shareholder’s son Travis, played by Haley Joel Osment, and his obnoxious demands.
In simple terms, Entourage is a standard episode with an added 44 minutes. It has two extra subplots to involve the whole crew and the same structure and plotting as the show. Everyone has an equal share of the story with the focus on Ari trying to get more money for Vince’s movie. The weakest subplot has to be Turtle’s where he attempts to date MMA fighter Rhonda Rousey with no overarching consequences to the main story. It is not so much a problem considering the other plots connect and wrap-up nicely in comparison.
The same humor is present and accounted for with the signature banter between characters and exaggerated portrayal of the business of Hollywood. Peppered throughout are over a dozen cameos of actors to enhance the satire and create a sense of pseudo-realism. To newcomers, most of the humor is borderline sexist if your feelings are easily hurt. To that effect, the film is tailored more for men, but if you enjoy bro-comedy there is plenty to go around.
One negative I find is in the visuals and overall aesthetic. The show was very much grounded in reality despite being satire, but the adaptation uses its budget to bring the glam and lucre up to 100. Everyone is beautiful, wears expensive clothes, drives expensive cars, and has giant houses. Obviously the movie is about Hollywood stardom, exaggerated though it may be, but Entourage overdoes it in such a way it kills the atmosphere and sense of realism. As painful as it is to admit, it reminds me of Sex and the City 2.
Another problem is the inclusion of British television personality Piers Morgan as one of the cameos. Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to cast that pretentious limey slag in any part of this movie? Was it you, Wahlberg? Sure, he is present for maybe five minute total, but in those five minutes I found myself so personally and profoundly offended, I had to make mention in my review. Seeing that misinformed proponent of yellow journalism do anything on screen almost ruined the experience. Maybe after you do research and actually be an American, your opinion on my right to bear arms will mean less so than it already does, Morgan, you Christo-fascist twerp.
Entourage is difficult to recommend. If you are a fan, you will certainly enjoy it. If you are not but you have some interest, I advise doing light research on the characters and story before buying a ticket. If you are still unsure, it is a far better alternative to Aloha.