From HBO to the Big Screen: “Entourage” is back

entourage

As someone who doesn’t watch a whole lot of television, it’s rare for me to actually be looking forward to seeing a film that’s basically just an extended version of a TV show. A notable exception to that, however, happens to be Entourage, which hits screens this weekend after a long journey from HBO to theaters. One of the few shows I used to watch, it was always a hoot to look at Hollywood through essentially rose colored glasses (and yes, it was basically a fictionalized version of Mark Wahlberg’s early days in the business). Now, audiences worldwide get to reunite once again with movie star Vincent Chase, his literal entourage, and excitable super agent Ari Gold, among many others this week…

For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it follows the adventures of actor Vincent Chase, who navigates Hollywood and being a movie star with his friends Eric (or E), Turtle, and brother Johnny Drama. Vince’s agent is Ari Gold, a top tier mover and shaker in the business, who as the film begins is now a studio head. The movie itself will follow Vince and his buddies as he tries to successfully make his directorial debut. Adrian Grenier plays Vince, Kevin Connolly is E, Kevin Dillon is Johnny, Jerry Ferrara is Turtle, and of course Jeremy Piven is Ari. Also returning from the show is Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rhys Coiro, Rex Lee, Debi Mazar, Perrey Reeves, and Constance Zimmer, while newcomers include Haley Joel Osment, Billy Bob Thornton, and of course the aforementioned Wahlberg. Former show runner Doug Ellin co-writes (with Rob Weiss) and directs, making for a true family reunion of sorts.

One of the reasons that the show worked so well as that it functioned as excellent wish fulfillment. Fans of Entourage when it ran on HBO at least partially watched it in order to get a silly little glimpse at what it’s like to be on the A-list in Tinseltown. That, and Piven’s award winning turn as Ari Gold made for enjoyable television once a week. Even as the show went through a bit of a rough patch towards the end, Piven was the rock that kept things from ever not being fun. This isn’t high art, no doubt about that, but it’s the kind of thing that you find easy to kick back and just watch. I see it tonight, but I suspect that the cinematic equivalent will offer the same small pleasure.

Obviously, this isn’t awards fare or anything of the sort, but it’s the kind of summer popcorn film that usually does well, especially when paired with the bigger CGI-laden blockbusters that permeate theaters during the hottest months of the year. No one is expecting Entourage to cure cancer or change the world, or honestly even appeal to the largest swarth of audiences, but it helps to create a well rounded summer movie season. In a sense, watching Piven as Ari again is just another silly little pleasure, along the lines of dinosaurs run amok next week in Jurassic World or any of the many superhero flicks that we see almost every weekend now.

In just a few days, Entourage returns with this film version and trust me when I say that many are looking forward to it. It’s not going to be the biggest movie of the year, but it’s a comedy that should be able to find its little corner of the cinematic world. Personally, I’m looking forward to it, hopeful that the charm of the cast will still be in evidence. There’s always the chance that it winds up disappointing, but my fingers are cross that that’s not the case. I’ll find out in a few hours, while Wednesday/this weekend you all will be able to as well. If you were a fan of the show, the wait to see Ari, Vince, and the rest of the old gang is almost over…

Be sure to check out Entourage when it opens on Wednesday!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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