Entourage

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Laura Clifford 
Entourage

Robin Clifford 

Just as his boys arrive on his Ibiza party boat, Vince (Adrian Grenier) takes a phone call from new studio head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) who wants him to star in his first picture.  But Vince has vowed to direct his next outing and with $100 million spent, it's up to Vince's manager/producer Eric (Kevin Connolly) to relay the news that they need just a little more to complete the film. Ari's Texan investor Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton) is holding the purse strings shut until his spoiled son Travis (Haley Joel Osment, "The Sixth Sense," "Tusk") sees Vince's cut and his vengeful response will roil up drama for Vince's "Entourage."

Laura:
Hollywood has a long history of turning television series into movies, usually years later, often as a parody and without the original cast ("Star Trek" and HBO's own "Sex and the City" being obvious exceptions).  When it was announced that series creator/writer/director Doug Ellin would be bringing his boys back less than four years after their HBO series finale, the news wasn't exactly welcomed, the general reaction being who needs an "Entourage" movie?  And so, although it's hard to imagine anyone who didn't watch the show with some regularity will get into it at the same level, it's a pleasant surprise to discover that "Entourage" turns out to be a consistently amusing catch up with Vince, E, tequila tycoon Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Vince's half-bro Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), the only member of the gang still on the C list.

The series, about up-and-coming actor Vince, the childhood Jersey pals he brings along for the ride and his overwound agent Ari is based upon producer Mark Wahlberg's experiences.  When we left them, Vince was about to get married, E's on-again-off-again girlfriend Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) was expecting his child, Turtle had invested in a new tequila brand, Drama was still struggling in shows like 'Viking Quest' and Ari was finally recognizing the wisdom in Mrs. Ari's (Perrey Reeves) wish to retire to Italy.  Within the first few minutes, we learn Vince, surrounded by scantily clad babes, is getting his short marriage annulled while the Golds are packing up to return to La-La Land and the guy who drove Vince's car may just be the wealthiest of them all (not to mention a lot slimmer).

Back at home, E's juggling a new girlfriend with his old one's Lamaze classes as he and Vince wrap final details on their film (of which we see only about a minute, a 'Jekyll and Hyde' spin on a DJ with strange powers).  Vince encourages Turtle to pursue female fighter Ronda Rousey while he keeps his own relationship with Emily Ratajkowski under wraps. Drama, who has a small 'but pivotal' role in "Hyde," is auditioning with the likes of Chad Lowe to play a victim on a TV cop show.  So when Travis begins to throw his weight around in L.A. and is told Ratajkowski's up for grabs, he reacts badly when he finds out otherwise, demanding Drama be cut from Vince's film.  As if that weren't bad enough, Drama's stock drops further when his unfortunate one-man sex tape shows up on TMZ.

Ellin keeps the main story line moving forward as he weaves each character's separate ordeals around it, the central theme of loyalty among friends as strong as ever.  Ari even seems to have picked up on that code, a bit nicer despite outward appearances and reputation (Liam Neeson flips him the bird at a stop light).  The only member of the cast to get short shrift is Rex Lee's Lloyd, Ari's former assistant turned agent, who acts in a vacuum, the other end of phone calls asking Ari to give him away at his upcoming wedding.  The film is full of cameos from New England Patriots, Warren Buffet, Jessica Alba, David Spade, Kelsey Grammar and others playing themselves in a fictitious version of their own world, none funnier than Mark Wahlberg.  The series' docudrama you-are-there feel is intact as well, locations amped up to reflect growing fortunes (and yes, the vintage Lincoln Continental with its suicide doors that graced opening credits is here too).

The movie goes out on a nice high note, an unlikely dream fulfilled.  It's consistently entertaining and with its amped up gloss plays surprisingly well on the big screen.  The only real problem with "Entourage" is that it's weakened as a standalone film. A Piers Morgan TV bit provides backstory, but unless you've seen the show, you'll have a hard time understanding who Shauna (Debi Mazar) or Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro) are, nor will the nuances of E's relationship to Sloane, Ari's to the Mrs. or Ari's to Lloyd be apparent.

Grade:   B-

Robin:
Robin did not see this film.
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