I’ve read so many scathing reviews of Entourage that I have to wonder if I watched a different film. Fans of the original HBO series (that ended after an eight-season run in 2011) will note that at its heart it’s still a celebration of enduring friendship. Essentially it feels like a 90-minute episode of the show; the latest chapter in the raunchy, excess-filled lives of our boys from Queens who struck big in movie-town.
 
When we first meet them, on a boat in the Mediterranean, we learn that a lot has happened in the lives of movie-star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his ‘bros’ since the show ended. Vince is single again; his marriage lasted all of nine days. His best friend and manager Eric, aka E (Kevin Connolly) is going to be a dad with his ex Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui). Turtle (Jerry Ferrera) no longer chauffeurs the gang around; he got rich from investing in a tequila company, and he lost a ton of weight. Meanwhile, Vince’s older half-brother (and C-list actor) Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) may have finally landed a role that could change his life.
 
I know what you’re thinking – what happened to Ari Gold, right? Still furnishing most of the laughs, Ari (Jeremy Piven) has gone from hot-headed superagent, to hot-headed studio boss. Having reluctantly greenlit Vince’s directorial debut, which, by the way, has gone way over-budget, Ari heads to Texas to squeeze the extra cash out of an oil baron (Billy Bob Thornton), who in turn puts his scumbag son (Haley Joel Osment) in charge of making the decision.
 
Director Doug Ellin (who also created the show) keeps the plotting slim, never raising the stakes too high. Like the show, the movie too coasts along on the easy-going charm of its protagonists, and a generous helping of Hollywood voyeurism. So there are the usual beach parties crammed with bikinied babes and a slew of celebrity cameos, with everyone from Warren Buffet and Tom Brady to Liam Neeson and Pharrell Williams making an appearance. MMA fighter Ronda Rousey is the only one who gets a sizable role…as a possible love-interest for Turtle. In a movie slammed for being misogynistic and for its disposable treatment of women (fair enough, I won’t contest!), she’s the one female character who doesn’t come off looking like a pushover.
 
As a fan of the show, Entourage offered me comfort in the familiar. It was a bit like catching up with old friends who you haven’t seen in years. Everyone’s older, but a few drinks in and you realize nothing has changed.
 
I’m going with three out of five. If you missed the gang like I did, you’ll be happy to catch up.

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