Call me an independent observer, if you’d like.
After watching Entourage and seeing just exactly what kind of ride ain’t over yet, I think I’ve pinpointed the most appropriate feeling to associate with HBO’s former show that found a movie adaptation four years after the last episode aired in 2011.
If something like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia brings an unhealthy amount of frustration due to the utter incompetence of the characters, then Entourage brings feelings like envy, jealousy, and maybe even lust to mind.
While the entire concept of Entourage is loosely based on executive producer Mark Wahlberg’s life and his own entourage, there’s a sense of fantasy that is liberally applied to the whole shebang. Sure, Hollywood has beautiful women – regardless of that beauty’s authenticity – and sure, there are naturally going to be lots of celebrities in Hollywood.
But the way everything works out for the entourage is envious and almost abrasive. In short, where’s the real conflict here? Just the fact that the entourage is composed entirely of childhood friends is a feat in itself: there isn’t one of us who hasn’t lost at least one childhood friend due to geographical separation or some other sad reason.
Excess isn’t all bad, of course. There’s merit in watching heavy hitters like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but average folks like you and me already have some taxing lives and very real stress to deal with. What’s the harm in losing ourselves in a world where everything works out in the end?
Entourage falls firmly within that “oh, of course” category of pop culture, where you watch something bad happen, only to see it resolved either with minimal effort, a montage, or heavy bravado that would never fly in the real world (I’m looking at you, Ari Gold).
According to some of my trusted sources, the movie is basically an extended episode of the show. I say that because I never really got vested in the show during its run in the 2000s (let’s just say my household didn’t put a big priority on TV during those days and let’s just say I wasn’t completely familiar with the concept of “alternative/online viewing” at the time).
In that regard, Entourage succeeds in a goal that may or may not have been one of HBO’s intended priorities: I really want to watch the show now after seeing the movie. Apparently the movie captures the essentials of a typical Entourage episode and if that’s the case, I’m hungry for more.
The celebrity cameos are certainly all there, although one interesting question did arise after I got home from the theater: what universe does this take place in because Billy Bob Thornton, Haley Joel Osment, and a handful of other celebrities don’t portray themselves, but instead portray entirely fictional characters.
Does that mean some other kid told Bruce Willis he could see dead people? Does that mean Angelina Jolie had a vial of another guy’s blood around her neck during her more tumultuous days? I guess it doesn’t really matter, especially since my sources say in the show, celebrities play only themselves the vast majority of the time.
The witty and usually crass banter between the entourage is here in spades as well and provides the bulk of the humor. Past and present deficiencies are constantly brought up, such as Turtle’s weight back in the day and E’s shortness.
From what I understand, the movie has been getting some pretty lackluster reviews. I kinda get it, but I kinda don’t. I went into the movie with low expectations and found myself laughing way more than I expected; it’s the funniest movie I’ve seen in 2015 other than Inside Out (although to be fair, I haven’t exactly been hitting up the movie theaters this summer).
In the words of Eminem, “just lose yourself in the moment” and have some fun. You can get serious during Oscars season.