Did we really need an Entourage movie?

Ben Dowell thinks that unravelling a TV show's near-perfect finale for a new film was probably a bad idea...

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If you loved Entourage, you’ll…. well, I am not sure love is quite the defining response for the Entourage movie. You may like it. I was indifferent. But, whatever you think, you may ask yourself as I did (many times): what is the point?

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After all, the classic HBO show finished in 2011 on a high after eight series. After everything the gang of Adrian Grenier’s Vincent, Kevin Dillon’s Johnny and all the others had been through, it was satisfying to leave them with everything wrapped up.

Vincent had fallen in love with a beautiful young woman played by Alice Eve and was about to take off on a plane, having found happiness.

Jeremy Piven’s fast-talking and abusive super-agent Ari Gold had finally calmed down and was giving up his job to concentrate on his marriage. And E and Sloan looked like they might finally have got together.

But with the movie, well, that fairytale had to end. What was carefully put together now has to be unravelled and it is hard to believe that artistic integrity rather than the lure of dollar signs was the primary motivation.

Director and writer Doug Ellin defends the project well in this filmed interview we did with him. But I am not convinced. This feels like a money-spinner, albeit one with the odd cracking line and more cameos than you can shake a stick at.

Ellin claims it works on the big screen but I can’t help feeling that it is just a padded out episode of the show. This makes it unsatisfying as a film experience – and leaves you uncomfortably questioning whether the TV show really was all it was cracked up to be.

It’s a strange film which imagines Ari now running a major studio – with Vince his first hire, given millions and millions to direct his first project (of course).

The jeopardy comes in the form of the fat son of Billy Bob Thornton’s Texan oil billionaire who is jealous of Vince. Said fat son threatens to pull the family’s huge investment in Vince’s movie. Will good win the day? Will high cheekbones and charm beat podgy-faced envy?

Of course it will. Fat people are bad people in this fantasy world and they get their just desserts.

To be fair, some of the gags are cracking. The set piece between a furious Liam Neeson and Ari is brilliant, Ari’s pay-off line’s a corker. And the moment when Kevin Dillon’s Johnny Drama (below) finds that a video he really would rather didn’t go viral has actually gone viral, was hugely enjoyable too.

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Kelsey Grammer also shows he can be sent up in style, a scene with him coming out of a therapy session perhaps worth at least some of the cinema admission price. I also enjoyed Thierry Henry’s appearance. Henry’s dog, however, is probably a better actor than the former Arsenal footballer.

Other cameos fare less well, and Piers Morgan is as self-important as you’d expect him to be and I, like many UK viewers I suspect, had never heard of Turtle’s love interest, a fearsome celebrity wrestler called Ronda Rousey who doesn’t bring much to the film except (I would suspect) a large appearance fee.

These two eventually hit it off, by the way. But with talk already about a second Entourage movie, I wouldn’t fancy their chances of staying together. It’ll have to be unwrapped all over again.

Entourage the movie is released in the UK on June 19

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