Typically, HBO knows when to push for another season and when to let a show die, but every now and then we get exceptions to that rule. With Deadwood, HBO cut bait on a fan-favorite series a bit too soon, and with Entourage, HBO let a concept with little to no substance run for about four seasons too long. What makes HBO’s investment in Entourage all the more obnoxious is that along with those unnecessary final four seasons (in which the characters didn’t really grow or accomplish anything different from the first four), they’ve now seen fit to give Entourage a movie to top it all off. Does the movie cover new ground? No, it doesn’t. Instead, it’s essentially a mash-up of Entourage’s first four seasons with Vincent Chase’s (Adrian Grenier) directorial debut Hyde being thrust into production hell after it goes over budget and leaves newly crowned studio head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) and its financiers (Billy Bob Thornton, Haley Joel Osment) nervous about whether they have another Aquaman or Medellin on their hands.
It’s not a bad story for a film, but as an excuse to dust off a franchise that only just bowed out 3 years ago and which already exhausted plots just like this one, it’s pretty flimsy. The characters of Vincent, Turtle (Jerry Ferrera), Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), and Eric (Kevin Connolly) aren’t so strong or endearing that our TV-viewing lives feel empty with them gone, and in fact, they haven’t even been gone long enough to be missed. Only Piven’s rage-driven producer schtick is still fun to watch explode anew, and mostly because he has a new sense of power as a studio executive and a new head to butt up against thanks to Haley Joel Osment’s portrayal of an entitled, armchair director of a financier who suspends the production of Chase’s big film Hyde for childish reasons.
If that was the entirety of the film, and it explored that theme in-depth, then maybe this Entourage film would have felt like it was giving something new to a series that’s always been little more than a cameo or product placement bonanza. Unfortunately, that narrative only finds time to fill up about an hour of the runtime, with the rest given over to pointless stories about Turtle romancing Ronda Rousey, Eric having rampant sex that conflicts with Sloan’s (Emmanuelle Chriqui) announcement she’s willing to give him another chance in the final days of her pregnancy, and Johnny’s further self-embarrassment which is then shallowly fixed with a bit of Award-winning closure. Which isn’t to say the closure is well-done, but rather that that’s the closure that occurs – he’s given an award for a performance (of which we see nothing but we’re told is excellent throughout the entire film).
That last point, being told that Johnny Drama’s performance in the film is excellent without ever seeing it, acts as something of a running joke in the movie, but it also kind of sums of the problem of Entourage (both the show and the film): we’re told that we’re watching the career of this big, superstar of an actor, but nothing in the show or of the faux movie clips we ever see ever suggests that Adrian Grenier or Vincent Chase are good actors. The same holds true of Dillon, Ferrera, and Connolly, who spout one-liners about getting laid, getting drunk, or driving cool cars but who never give us a reason to care about any of them. It was a problem that undermined the show from its very start but really became noticeable in seasons five through eight when the show began repeating itself.
Entourage ran its course (and then some) during its overly long 8-season stint, making the film entirely unnecessary. For every show that’s ever been given consideration for a follow-up movie, Entourage was probably the least deserving and, just like with its final four seasons, it wasted the opportunity to do anything new.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
Along with an Ultraviolet digital copy, extras include a number of featurettes that cover the production the in-film blockbuster Hyde, how the guys of Entourage have changed over the years, the Hollywood experience, and Ari’s in-film son, as well as deleted scenes and a gag reel.
"Entourage: The Movie" is on sale September 29, 2015 and is rated R. Comedy, Drama. Written and directed by Doug Ellin. Starring Adrian Grenier, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy Piven, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon.