Review – ENTOURAGE

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Starring: Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Perrey Reeves, Rex Lee, Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment.
Directed by: Doug Ellin
Cert: 15A Running Time: 104 mins
Release date: June 19th 2015

In 2011 when the boys flew off on their private jets into the sunset in the eighth and final season of Entourage, the show had neatly tied things up with a slick and shiny red bow. Set in tinseltown, the question of a movie version though was inevitable and four years later we find ourselves back with the boys as they take Hollywood for real.

Everything has been amped up for their big screen debut. There are more girls, more parties, more bro-talk and more cameos. For fans of the show the Piers Morgan hosted look at the life of movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his entourage at the beginning is unnecessary, but for new viewers it lays it out pretty easy. Vince is the pretty boy movie star, E (Kevin Connolly) his best friend and manager, Drama (Kevin Dillon) his jobbing actor half-brother and Turtle (Jerry Ferrera) is their buddy and driver.

The film opens with the boys joining Vince in Ibiza for a yacht party as his five day marriage has just gone down in flames. Vince is on to his next conquest and acting job, telling ex-agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) now head of one of the major studios, that he wants to direct. Taking a punt on him, Ari fronts the studio’s money but when Vince needs more, the studio investors get uneasy. Texan billionaire Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thorton) sends his son Travis (a suitably repulsive Haley Joel Osment) to LA to see a rough cut of the movie before deciding whether to release any more funds.

The show’s creator Doug Ellin (who also produces and directs) has written a tight script that weaves a decent story strand for each of the five main characters, if perhaps E is given the most unlikely both in execution and resolution. Ari has always been the main reason to tune in and still is. At his best when the verbal abuse is flowing, his performance is pure genius and Piven is clearly having a ball.

When the film threatens to spill over with excess, particularly in its depiction of sex, Ellin pulls it back throwing moral caution to the wind and countering it with genuine romance. There’s a balance to the bro-ishness and bawdiness that’s needed to stop them just being a bunch of vacuous frat boys. As with the TV show, the film is crammed with cameos with producer Mark Wahlberg, Liam Neeson, Jessica Alba and a very funny Kelsey Grammar being standouts.

Entourage is a diverting, entertaining, funny movie that doesn’t stray from the formula that made it a success. It won’t change the world but its escapism delivered in a luxurious Hollywood package. Newcomers may find themselves reaching for the box set.

***

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