I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Preston Barta // Features Editor
ENTOURAGE | 104 min | R
Director: Doug Ellin
Cast: Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Perrey Reeves, Rex Lee, Debi Mazar, Constance Zimmer, Ronda Rousey, Haley Joel Osment and Billy Bob Thornton
There’s no denying the ENTOURAGE film is engaging for fans of the original HBO series. It’s very much like an extended episode loaded with more laughs, beautiful ladies, and Ari (the great Jeremy Piven) doing what he does best. For newcomers, don’t worry, the film catches you up to speed fairly quickly by an introduction that gives just enough information to know who everyone is and what they’ve been up to through the course of the show. But, of course, it’s that much better if you went on the eight season trek with the boys.
In the film, everything seems to be going well for our star, Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier). His directorial debut, HYDE, has been green-lit by his former-agent-now-studio-head Ari Gold (Piven). His older brother, Johnny Drama (a scene-stealing Kevin Dillon), and best friends E (Kevin Connolly) and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) are off doing their own things. However, when HYDE goes over budget, the studio financiers (Billy Bob Thorton and Haley Joel Osment), don’t take to kind to it and try to get the film back on budget.
Yes, everyone is back (well, except Scott Caan and Cassidy Lehrman), and they each have their own story arc that is seamlessly weaved together. Ari is dealing with the responsibilities of his new position, trying to not to be so angry, and finding time to spend with his wife (Perrey Reeves) and kids. Vince, if you saw the end of season eight, got married, but is now out of it and a free man yet again. Drama passes his time with chatroom porn sites and doing his normal thing: looking for work and being recognized for his accomplishments. Meanwhile, Turtle is trying to show MMA champion Ronda Rousey that he’s serious about dating her. And then there’s E, who is struggling to date again after breaking up with the now-pregnant Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui).
The film is the same ol’ good ENTOURAGE. However, that doesn’t mean the film doesn’t have its problems, like suspending disbelief that HYDE is as good as everyone say it is. Audiences get to watch a few bits of it and it looks like the worst bits of IRON MAN 3, otherwise terrible. So there’s that, and the wonder of why creator/director Doug Ellin and executive producer Mark Wahlberg didn’t just make it a “mini-series” type of deal (a really long episode) on HBO. Really, this movie didn’t need to have a theatrical release, but regardless, it’s great to hang out with the gang again.
ENTOURAGE is by no means lazy or bad– it’s pretty much in line with what we’ve previously seen on the show. Things move at a good, swift pace, and it’s not over a two-hour running-time like the series-to-film adaptation of SEX AND THE CITY. The performances are fun and entertaining as ever. So, yeah, if you’re a fan of the show, you’ll walk away satisfied. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a passably entertaining hangout movie. You can’t help but love it.
ENTOURAGE opens tonight.