Like the HBO show, “Entourage” delights in Hollywood excess.
This is a world where you might land your helicopter on someone’s lawn to crash a business meeting, or take a little yacht to meet up with your buddy on his bigger yacht. It’s a land of celebrities, wealth and topless women.
This is the Hollywood where movie star Vince (Adrian Grenier) and his friends live; where what matters most is business and your bros.
Fans of the series will feel right at home in the film, which plays like an extended episode on the big screen. All the familiar characters are there, along with ostentatious mansions, convertible Ferraris, Los Angeles landmarks and those topless women. It’s a celebration of idealized consumption, presented without criticism.
The film opens on a yacht off the coast of Ibiza, where Vince has retreated to mourn the end of his dayslong marriage. His lifelong friends — manager E (Kevin Connolly), driver Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and brother Johnny “Drama” (Kevin Dillon) — come to cheer him up. Just then, Vince’s former agent, Ari (Jeremy Piven), now a studio head, calls to offer him the leading role in the company’s next film.
Surrounded by babes and with his buddies beside him, Vince says without irony: “This whole rushing-into-marriage thing is because I’m searching for something. I’ve decided that whatever I do next, I also want to direct.”
Ari goes for it, and thus begins their adventure. Ari’s fight for financing with a pair of tough Texans (Billy Bob Thornton and Hayley Joel Osment) comprises much of the action on the business end.
But that’s not where the real action is, of course. It’s with the guys (and the women they sleep with). Did I mention there are lots of naked, pretty girls in this movie?
E gets himself in trouble when he beds two leggy beauties within 24 hours. Meanwhile, he’s expecting a baby with his ex-girlfriend (longtime show regular Emmanuelle Chriqui). Turtle is romancing MMA fighter Ronda Rousey. Vince cavorts with models. Ari talks about his movie while making love with his wife. Johnny creates some drama for himself when a phone-sex session goes wrong.
Though the series ended in 2011, each of the actors inhabit their characters like they never left. And, as on the show, Johnny and Ari are the most fun to watch.
Though Ari’s long-suffering wife (Perrey Reeves) has him going to therapy and listening to meditation CDs, he’s as quick-tempered as ever, at one point punching a framed photo of a kitten. To him, the movie business is the most important thing in life. Only his wife seems to think that’s weird.
Johnny brings heart to the film. Even though he’s the biggest goof, in many ways, he’s the most relatable. Sensitive and insecure, he’s destroyed by the slightest criticism, elated by any positive attention and deeply devoted to his friends.
As Ari says: “Their blind loyalty to each other is charming.”
And that’s what “Entourage” is really about: Four dudes guiltlessly living in luxury with the main aim of getting girls.
Unlike on the show, the film’s female characters are left totally undeveloped, save for Rousey, who plays herself. Debi Mazar, a series regular, is wasted here. With a few throwaway lines, her appearance is practically reduced to a cameo.
Speaking of cameos, there are scores of them, and they’re a hoot. Especially amusing are T.I. and his wife Tiny, comedian Andrew Dice Clay and Olympian Greg Louganis.
Writer-director Doug Ellin, who also created the show, says the goal of “Entourage” is “wish fulfillment, the ultimate fantasy.” That comes through here — at least for the guys.