Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Summer Cinema: Entourage

Knocked off season 8 of Entourage last week to prep for the big screen adaptation. I didn't realize there were only 8 episodes so it was a quick couple of binge watches. We leave Vince (Adrian Grenier) about to get married in Paris, E (Kevin Connolly) flying off with pregnant on again, off again lover Sloan (Emmanuelle chriqui), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) becoming a millionaire due to his tequila company, Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) about to experience a career resurgence and Ari (Jeremy Piven) giving up his talent agency to save his marriage. Entourage the movie negates all of that. But I wasn't upset about it as the flick is fun, consistently funny and filled with cameos from the likes of actors, athletes and business types.

Directed by Doug Ellin and co-written by Rob Weiss, the film picks up 9 days after the show's finale. We find Vince surrounded by women on a yacht as his marriage to Sophia (an unseen Alice Eve) has come undone and their union will be annulled. E and Sloane couldn't work out their shit, Turtle is just chilling being a millionaire and courting MMA champ Ronda Rousey, Drama's show with Andrew Dice Clay has been canceled and Ari taking control of a studio. His first project? Vincent's directorial debut, Hyde, a big budget, futuristic thriller about a DJ who has Jekyll and Hyde disorder and some supernatural powers. Going over budget and needing more money, Ari deals with Texas magnate Blah (Billy Bob Thornton) and his shithead kid Blah (a bearded Haley Joel Osmont looking a lot like Richard Karn from Home Improvement). Parties, women problems, pregnancy classes, pregnancy and STD scares, buff Ronda Rousey, photo punching, homosexual wedding planning, life on a Hollywood lot and cameos galore ensues.

Like the show, the crew is shown having a good time, possibly facing a career ending catastrophe and ultimately coming out on top. The routine formula somehow doesn't wear out it's welcome in the film as the heightened reality version of Hollywood and taking your big shot still provides laughs, gasps and celebration. Cameos by the likes of Liam Neeson, various models and athletes, Warren Buffett, Jessica Alba and David Spade come fast and furious with most of them playing asshole versions of themselves. Producer and partial inspiration for the series Mark Wahlberg shows up in a funny scene doing his funny gangsta impression while also hocking his nutrition line, upcoming sequel to Ted, water company and A&E television show effortlessly.

The flick moves pretty fast and provides a satisfying end that I'm sure could be destroyed by a sequel. Like all HBO shows, early seasons were known for their sex and nudity but tapered off as the final stretch had nary an exposed breast or buttock. The film makes up for it in spades though with lots of sex and nudity, surprisingly so. After salary negotiations slowed down development, it's said that Piven received $5 million to return (wow he must have a good agent!) while the guys each got around $2 million. Supposedly budgeted at a modest $30 million, Entourage has grossed $18 million since it's release last Wednesday. Looks like audiences weren't clamoring for an extended episode as much as they were for Sex In the City. But if Doug Ellin and crew get the greenlight for another go round, I'll be there to check it out.

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