** out of ****
Disclaimer: I have never watched the HBO show Entourage, so die-hard fans of the series should take the following with the requisite grains of salt.
For those unfamiliar with the basic story, Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) is a movie star who surrounds himself with childhood friends E & Turtle (Eric Connolly, Jerry Ferrara) and his decidedly less successful half-brother actor Johnny (Kevin Dillon). They navigate the Hollywood lifestyle while Vinnie makes movies and copes with the tirades of his agent Ari (Jeremy Piven). The show was essentially Sex and the City for guys: an R-rated lifestyle porn sitcom.
The movie has Vinnie starring in a new film that’s also his directorial debut. Ari’s now the studio head in charge of developing the project. But Vinnie wants more money and to get it, he has to impress the movie’s Texas financier (Billy Bob Thornton), who sends his buffoonish son (Haley Joel Osment) to supervise things.
It’s not much of a plot. The other guys all get their little subplots - the profoundly unlikable Eric is juggling several women at once, Turtle wants to ask MMA legend Ronda Rousey on a date, and Johnny’s desperate to get a role that makes people take him seriously. The problem is Entourage feels like a sitcom stretched to a feature length film, as opposed to a story worthy of its 104 minute running time. There’s about 30 minutes of amusing material here - some of Piven’s tirades are genuinely funny, Thornton expresses contempt as well as anyone in Hollywood, and a few of the cameos generate laughs (Kelsey Grammer and a sight gag involving Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson are the best). But a lot of the cameos are pointless, many subplots fail to generate interest, and the film-within-a-film that’s supposed to be brilliant looks terrible (and it’s hard to tell whether the movie intends it to be satire).
At the risk of stating the obvious, the fans of the TV show will likely find enough to like to make it worth the price of a matinee, but everyone else can avoid this in theaters.