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Film in Review

By Bill Arceneaux

 

For the devoted fans on the HBO TV series, Entourage might be the sendoff they’ve been waiting for. The familiar personalities of Vincent Chase and Ari Gold (plus the trio in between) all shine in their own ways, and play with the formula that made the initial run of the show so successful. They live in luxury, interact with other celebrities in rather intimate scenarios and deal with their own egos—all the while maintaining a tight bro-ship. Oh, and sexual misconducts ensue.

As a season (not series) finale, does it work? Sure. As a movie, does it work? No.

Everything about Entourage is stuck within the tube (TV). The opening credits are pretty much the same as in the show, the level of vulgarity is pretty much the same as in the show, and the personal stakes, arcs, and situations are pretty much the same as in the show. At no point is anything upped to match the cinematic level. Well, Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) does ride in a helicopter near the end, and there are quite a few naked women on display…

I’d like to submit Star Trek: The Next Generation and SNL skit turned movie MacGruber as examples of better ways to handle this transition. Both began on TV and had good runs—TNG even got an official series finale. When it came time to make movies, both projects had people involved that understood moving from the small screen to the big screen was an integral component. To do the exact same thing results in boredom. You have to produce something on a slightly bigger scale.

MacGruber got more absurd and involved higher levels of problems for the protagonist. The same goes for the TNG movies like First Contact and Nemesis. Grander effects, grander plot. It’s pretty shocking that, for a show meant to celebrate and mock the very industry and town it’s set in, its film can’t do the same on a bigger canvas. You’d think that with more money, access to more celebrities, and different equipment at their disposal, an Entourage movie would be a great commentary and tribute to Hollywood excess. Instead, Entourage ends up being just another episode in the catalog.

Now, for what it is, it’s not technically terrible. Piven plays Ari Gold like a lit rocket, just waiting for that fuse to hit the apparatus and explode. There’s a sequence where Gold, now a studio head, is racing to his office to meet the boss above him, while dodging movie stars and interns. The ability to exude stress and to act like it’s not affecting you is pretty impressive here. Piven shows that his performance in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For was, indeed, some kind of an anomaly. Kevin Dillon is fun as well, playing the tag along big brother extra actor, who can’t quite get the respect he feels he deserves.

I’ve been digging into Community season six on Yahoo Screen as of late. While the show has running continuity with arcs and meta references, some episodes feel very stand alone and just for the heck of it. Entourage the movie feels in the same “whatevs” vein, but without the proper storytelling. Or cleverness. Or any point at all to its existence. Ultimately, it’s a special feature add on for a future collectible DVD set. “See? We made a movie. Sort of. I mean, it IS feature length.” Accomplishment? Sure.

2 / 5 *s

For more from the author, follow him on twitter @BillReviews and visit his blog CriticalNO.com.

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