So I was recently invited to a pre-screening of the long awaited Entourage movie, and anticipation could not have been higher. Walking into the theater, you could see the immense diversity in the crowd. It was a blatant reminder that this show has touched ALL sorts of people, of all different demographics, and out of everyone in attendance every single person laughed loudly before the film was over. I’ll start the review by saying, if you’ve never watched the show, you might not want to read this review, however, I’m not spoiling any surprises about the film. But if you’d rather not know anything about anything, this may not be the article for you. (Like my sister, who introduced me to the show in the first place.)
I love it when shows do one of two things… either change their title sequence to something new every season, or they stay absolutely the same throughout the whole run of the show. Entourage chose the latter, and remained with the same basic title sequence the entire time (as the show progressed, actors names were replaced). But this new “movie credits sequence” is an amazing build upon the original, and can almost be surmised as the difference between the show and the movie. “Yeah that was always good, but THIS is way better.”
Some people may be wondering how or way certain things have changed between the show and the film, but the logic behind 99% of the things in the film are there. Things are explained briefly, and quite well, with the exception of a only few minute details. The main plot points are fleshed out with ease and questions people may have after watching the trailer are answered… like if this crew are all so rich, why would one movie effect them in such a big way. But the explanation for their plight makes a good deal of sense.
Of course ‘Entourage’, its essentially a glorified 104 minute episode, but don’t let this dissuade you from seeing it. This isn’t a rehashing of some old story line, or some origin story, or reboot. The story is a new, fresh progression after the events that show concluded with. All the actors, as well as the characters they play are at the top of their game, even though I would say when Ari Gold gets upset, he has had better lines in the show than in the movie. This movie also corrects some of the “issues” people took with the final episode, and if you’ve seen the post credit scene of the series finale, you get a great explanation as to what came of that situation.
Everyone gets their moment to shine, obviously the 5 main characters get their time, and their individual story lines differ, yet weave well between each other. You don’t ever lose interest in anyone’s plight, and everyone in the group feels important. The sub-characters get their moments as well. Mrs. Ari, Lloyd, Dana Gordon, and even Ari’s new assistant have smaller moments that bring out the best in the main characters, and the movie. (Although one important sub-character is straight up missing, and I would have loved to see a little bit more Debbie Mazar). The movie does an unmistakable job of telegraphing EVERYTHING that is backbone of the show in a creative way. This is also mainly done in the very beginning, so you can come into the theater not having watched a single episode, and understand who everyone is, what they’ve been through, and essentially why they behave the way they behave.
The natural progression in the characters is easy to see, and how well they’re doing for themselves is appropriate for the amount of time that has passed. I have to say though that the reveal of just how successful Turtle has become, is AMAZING. The basic elements of the show are still there, at no point do you think “They had to reformat that from the show, because this is a movie and things have to be different”, everything just fits, and well.
Music has always been a big part of this show. From breaking new artists, to brining classic songs back to the forefront of peoples memories, to taking tracks from obscurity to the limelight. The soundtrack of this movie is one that I would buy with no hesitation, although, the frequency at which songs appeared in the movie could have been a bit more dense. There just wasn’t as much as I would have wanted of a good thing. All the music was well placed, however there are two songs in particular that could not have been chosen better. (One, when someone is “drugged”, and the second, when a new car is taken for a first drive) Those two moments in particular are amplified immaculately by the music that supports them.
The one interesting thing that I noticed during the screening was, you could tell by the laughter in certain areas who is familiar with the show, and who is being introduced to these characters for the first time via the movie. For instance, if you’ve followed the show, you know Drama cooks for the group on a regular basis, but the way him cooking for Vince is presented in the movie, makes it somewhat comical to the newcomers. It’s just somewhat easy to tell who has known these characters for years, and who hasn’t. There are a multitude of tiny references fans will appreciate, but theres a specific scene that lends itself to both parties better than the rest. During that scene, if you’re a fan of the show, you KNOW what comes next, and you’re quite happy to watch it all over again. Although it is a MAJOR plot point of how things wind up in the show, all the people watching the movie without knowing the characters specific and detailed history have no clue about whats about to transpire, and that makes it fun for both parties.
Doug Ellin made some great writing choices, and even includes things about characters backgrounds we’ve NEVER seen before… for instance, (and this isn’t a spoiler) Vince was “found” by Ari after doing a Mentos commercial, its referenced multiple times in the show, but we never see that commercial. You’ll see it in this movie, and its glorious. There’s video “young” Drama, A photo of Eric working at his pizza place, and you FINALY get the reveal of Turtles full name. (Which is like 10 years coming).
As would be expected, the cameos are out of control in the best way possible. In my personal opinion, TI has the BEST one, followed swiftly by Armie Hammer. In a few case however, there are so many short cameos that they can be easy to miss. (Like Common). There is an incredible 4 minute sequence early in the film where almost EVERY single memorable cameo from the show appears in the same place, at the same time, and the reasoning behind very much holds up. It stops you from wondering “Why would Gary Bussey, Mark Cuban, Pharrell, and Bob Saget, ever be in the same location at the same time?” But that scene works so will, it’s irrelevant. I do have to say though that I feel like too many people missed the Warren Buffet cameo. (Which I feel like folks would have gasped at even though he was shown in the trailer.) The new characters are an awesome addition to the show, and Haley Joel Osmit is great. He’s a character you’re just supposed to loathe, and he does such a good job playing his role, you WILL. Ronda Rousey proves that she’s as good of an actress as she is a fighter, Mark Whalburg is great as usual, and I cannot state this enough, T.I. and his wife Tiny are the best cameo of this film.
So what’s bad about this movie? My only real complaint is that people laugh SO hard at the jokes, you miss whatever else happens afterwards. Which normally isn’t a big deal, but at one point, theres a major plot point that I missed because the audience was cracking up so hard at what came before it. I missed the explanation for something crucial, because a joke in the movie was just way too funny. But other than that, the rest of my criticisms are just minor gripes.
There are some odd, and unspecified time jumps (specifically towards the end), but thats just an attempt to wrap things up in time for the end of the movie. However, if your very first time jump that states in writing “8 Months Later”, you should explain how long the gaps in time are when you make other clear jumps forward. Also, the movie ends on a great note, however, you no choice but to STAY for the mid credits scene. When the credits first roll, things seem very unresolved, there seem to be tons of lose ends. But when you stay for the (quite lengthy) mid credits scene, 99% of those same issues are touched on and cleared up.
All in all its amazing, (or as “The Weekly Planet” guys say “Best Movie Ever”) and the film brings a new chunk of the story to the Entourage cannon, and leaves things slightly open for a sequel. Because this movie was completed longer ago than you would expect, some of the cultural references are a bit off. There’s a reference to ‘The Avengers’ that seemed a bit off, but its not that big of a deal. If you’re a fan of the show, there’s nothing you will miss. Every aspect what made this story great is in the mix, friendship, loyalty, naked titties, comedy and a great deal of heart. Go check it out on June 3rd.