Entourage Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jeremy Piven. Directed by Doug Ellin. Rated PG-13. Now playing.
Created by Doug Ellin and based loosely on Mark Wahlberg and his pals, the HBO series Entourage ran from 2004 to 2011, and for many viewers, outstayed its welcome. There’s really only so far one can go with a lightweight, star cameo-sprinkled storyline about four good-time buddies and their shallow Hollywood behavior. It wasn’t really an obsessive, binge-watch kind of show, yet for casual watchers, it could be pleasurable and satisfying.
The new Entourage movie, directed by Ellin, takes place right after the conclusion of the show, and is likewise shallow and pleasurable; it’s so simple that even a first-timer could walk into it and get a few laughs and vicarious tingles from all the sunshine-splashed mansions, cars, parties, girls and celebrities.
To recap: The movie star, Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), has annulled his marriage and is ready to get back to work; he wants to direct his next movie. His best pal Eric (Kevin Connolly) is preparing to become a father with his ex-love Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), a situation otherwise complicated by E’s current girl troubles. Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) has a part in Vince’s new movie that will make him a star, as long as his scenes aren’t cut. And Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), now in shape, starts pursuing mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey (also seen in Furious 7). Sadly, Turtle’s little subplot is clumsily disconnected from the main plot, and is sometimes forgotten.
Meanwhile, Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) gets the biggest laughs as the agent-turned-mogul whose entire career is riding on Vince’s movie, Hyde, while he tries to keep his newly reconciled relationship with his wife (Perrey Reeves) going. Using his neurotic but fearless daggers of carefully constructed foul language, he must confront a Texas billionaire (Billy Bob Thornton) to raise finishing funds for the over-budget movie, and must contend with the billionaire’s obnoxious son, Travis (Haley Joel Osment). Model Emily Ratajkowski (as herself) figures into the plot as well, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and Ari’s former assistant Lloyd (Rex Lee) turns up, too.
Ellin provides little rewards for the die-hards who finished the series, but—as was probably a contractual requirement—keeps the majority of it primed for newcomers. In its little way, it’s like a creampuff version of Robert Altman’s The Player, set in that world, but also very much a product of it. It doesn’t skewer or parody anything; it cheerfully, cluelessly looks upon Hollywood and sees that all is well.