By Steve Stebbing
The feeling I got when the boys of Entourage appeared on the big screen was like being reunited with old friends. This isn’t outlandish to say because, like fans all over North America, I followed the antics of Vincent Chase, E, Turtle, Johnny Drama and Ari Gold for eight seasons of their HBO show. So, as you could probably figure out, I was more than ready to see the story continue and I was not disappointed.
Right away I’m going to warn you faithful reader that we are heading down that rocky road so affectionately referred to as “spoiler territory”. The most important aspect to enjoying this film is that you need to have watched the entire series, which seems like a very obvious thing. The movie makes you feel that all ninety-six episodes of the television show was leading to this point and it really hits the mark big time, and on a grand scale.
The film picks up about two weeks after the series finale. Vince’s marriage to journalist Sophia is over after only 9 days and he’s partying on a boat in Ibiza with his new girlfriend of the moment and the boys show up to join in the fun. Vince tells his manager E that he’s not happy with the script and wants to do something different. E tells Vince that Ari can set him up with something, which kind of baffles him.
He may be confused, and so is the viewer, because at the end of season eight Ari Gold had quit his agency to live out the rest of his days with Mrs. Gold and their son. Well, Ari is now sitting in a cushy position at the head of a studio and wants to lure his favourite former client Vince with a new film. To the absolute shock to the ex-power agent and the rest of the boys from Queens, Vince throws a curveball at Ari and says he wants to direct.
This sets up the first of many fan services that director and show creator Doug Ellin gives us in this movie, the title sequence. We get a big and bold recreation of the beginning credits on the television show that, I can’t lie, almost brought a tear to my eye. Yes, I love this show that much. Even though I dislike Jane’s Addiction, the band that does the theme song, I still sing along to it too. That’s my dedication. Feel free to yell “NERD!” at me next time you see me.
When we return from the credits we are eight months later in the story. Johnny Drama’s cartoon “Johnny’s Bananas” has been cancelled, E and Sloane are no longer dating and she’s in the final stages of her pregnancy and Vince is trying to finish his directorial debut, Hyde, which is not quite finish although he’s spent the entire budget on it. This kind of sets up the majority of the plotline for the film.
Because of the budget issues, Vince sends E to secure more money from Ari, who funded this movie through Texan tycoon Larsen McCreadle (Billy Bob Thornton). This financier obviously makes Ari very uncomfortable because he’s very reluctant to go secure the extra $15 million his star director needs. The meeting with McCreadle doesn’t go exactly as hoped and Ari ends up coming home empty-handed. He’s also strong-armed into bringing the Texan’s son Travis (Haley Joel Osment) to see a rough cut of the film so that he can give a firsthand approval that everything is up to their standards.
As I said, the amount of love that Doug Ellin and company give the fans is absolutely immeasurable. There’s hilarious callbacks, a very elaborate party scene with many of the great celebrities that have had cameos on the series and characters that have developed on the show. The highlight of this movie, and definitely a large part of the series, is Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold. His lines are, pun intended, golden. There’s one line in particular that he gives to Turtle near the beginning that is so funny in an awful sense of humor way that I can’t even repeat it without feeling guilty. Only Ari has that power.
Doug Ellin says that he envisions this film as the first of three Entourage films and, as many people groan and roll their eyes at the “bro” heavy misogyny of it, I’m very much on board to see more. We had plotlines wrapped up from the series and brand new roads forged for each character. This was an hour and forty-minute reunion with friends I haven’t seen in four years and it made me realize how much I missed them. I give this one a four out of five, I just loved it.