Take a Drink: each time a character is wearing a New York sports team logo.
Take a Drink: every time Ari Gold is on his cellphone.
Take a Drink: every time there is a cameo by a famous actor playing themselves.
Take a Drink: every time there is a Girls Gone Wild “T and A” sequence.
Do a Shot: for the opening credits sequence over famous Los Angeles landmarks.
Shotgun a Beer: when you realize Haley Joel Osment is all grown up.
By: Amelia Solomon (Five Beers) –
Entourage is a film adaptation of the successful HBO television series, of the same name, that ran from 2004 to 2011. Just like the series, the film centers on an A-list actor Vince (Adrian Grenier), his best friend turned Manager Eric (Kevin Connolly), his washed up older brother Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), his driver Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), and Agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven). The series and film are both loosely based on the experiences of the film’s producer, Mark Wahlberg, and his real life entourage.
Set in Los Angeles against the backdrop of the movie business, the film glamorizes the life of its characters and, just like the series, lets the viewers live vicariously through the exploits of these five men. It showed that a bunch of nobodies from Queens, New York could make it in the land of fame and riches. On this premise the series worked, and because of its large following it had a built-in audience for a theatrical release. Adapting a television series into a film is not an easy feat, and in an interview actor Kevin Connolly explained he hoped the film would be as successful as Sex and the City, but he assured his interviewer that the film wouldn’t be as disastrous as Sex and the City 2.
Entourage played to its strengths in this film adaptation. These included its characters and its flashy depictions of the neighborhoods and streets of the City of Angels. With everyone from the series signed on to act in the film, screenwriter and director Doug Ellin delivered the characters that the television audience had already come to love over eight seasons.
No character is more memorable than Agent Ari Gold. A high-strung type-A entertainment agent, he lives and dies for the art of the deal. But despite these cliched type traits, his character never feels one-dimensional. He’s a family man, with a wife and children, and he’s a man who wants to have it all. It wasn’t surprising that the best lines in the film were spoken by Ari Gold. I laughed a lot, and credit must be given to Jeremy Piven for nailing his role. I can’t think of a stronger male comedic character and, like a Tony Soprano, Ari Gold will be an archetype that writers will refer to for years to come.
The film also has a great opening credits sequence. Superimposing the names of the actors over famous Los Angeles landmarks was an awesome technique and a positive way for the film to pay homage to not only the city in which it’s set, but the city that served as the inspiration for the film.
Entourage is about Hollywood, and that means that a lot of actors show up playing themselves. Other films have been cameo-heavy too, letting the audience play a game akin to Where’s Waldo?, but this often fails. It can end up seeming like the director is trying to show how cool he is by the number of famous people he has say lines in his or her film. But every cameo in Entourage works, and each one sets up a great joke. The top two cameo standouts were by Kelsey Grammar and Liam Neeson. Unafraid to poke fun of themselves, they both accentuate Jeremy Piven’s work.
Entourage found a role for every series regular, even if they only appear for a brief moment. However, the film added a new supporting character. Child star Haley Joel Osment, of The Sixth Sense fame, shows up unexpectedly as an overweight dunce and heir to his father’s Texas fortune. Osment is almost unrecognizable as Travis McCredle. He proves a decent foil for Ari Gold and doesn’t shrink into the background in his scenes with Piven.
The biggest problem with Entourage is that the plot is recycled. It’s no different from one of the episodes from the series. Screenwriter Ellin did not pen anything fresh. Although it makes sense to stick with the familiar as a basis for the film, there should have been some leaps taken. Without turning over any new ground, the result is that while viewing the film I kept feeling like I’ve seen this before, many, many times. Unfortunately, moviegoers will find that Entourage brings nothing new to the table.
Another mistake is that the film’s running time is too long. In fact, the last three scenes could have all been the final scene. This second issue is a byproduct of the first issue. With a familiar storyline the film becomes tedious, and instead of wanting it to never end I kept thinking, “when will it end?” That’s a shame when the characters that inhabit this world are so dynamic.
In one of the minor sub-plots, Turtle tries to pursue UFC star Ronda Rousey. She plays herself in the film, and although it gives Turtle a storyline, their scenes are awkward. The fault here lies with Rousey. Her acting talent was lackluster at best and cringe-worthy at worst. Although she’s acted in two films prior to this, director Ellin clearly made an error in giving her a small supporting role.
Die-hard fans of the series will still love Entourage because it’s a chance for them to see some of their favorite television characters inhabit the big screen. It’s perfect summer fare in that it’s light, entertaining, and Ari Gold’s punchlines deliver laughs.
Although I’d hoped for some outtakes during the credits, there is an extra scene instead. It was most likely intended to be the last scene of the film that wound up being cut. Make sure to stay to the very end so you can watch Ari’s ex-assistant, Lloyd (Rex Lee), get married to his boyfriend, played by real-life Olympian Greg Louganis, in a Jewish gay wedding. L’chaim.