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Entourage: The Movie Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

Entourage (2015) movie poster Entourage

Theatrical Release: June 3, 2015 / Running Time: 104 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Doug Ellin / Writers: Doug Ellin (characters, story & screenplay), Rob Weiss (story)

Cast: Kevin Connolly (Eric "E" Murphy), Adrian Grenier (Vincent Chase), Kevin Dillon (Johnny "Drama" Chase), Jerry Ferrara (Sal "Turtle" Assante), Jeremy Piven (Ari Gold), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Sloan), Perrey Reeves (Mrs. Ari), Rex Lee (Lloyd Lee), Debi Mazar (Shauna Roberts), Rhys Coiro (Billy Walsh), Constance Zimmer (Dana Gordon), Haley Joel Osment (Travis McCredle), Ronda Rousey (Ronda Rousey), Scott Mescudi (Allen), Alan Dale (John Ellis), Emily Ratajkowski (Emily Ratajkowski), Billy Bob Thornton (Larsen McCredle)

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"Entourage" was never quite beloved by critics and organizations that give awards, but the HBO series nonetheless made its way into the pop culture lexicon with its bold characters and fun catchphrases. Loosely based on the experiences of its executive producer Mark Wahlberg, the half-hour dramedy ran for eight seasons from 2004 to 2011.
It returned earlier this year in feature film form, something with precedent over at the network who revived "Sex and the City" as a global blockbuster but still kind of surprising for something that many considered middling and which rarely won awards since Jeremy Piven's mid-run three-peat in the Emmys' Supporting Actor in a Comedy category.

Those with doubts about the viability of the movie Entourage had them confirmed when the film drew unfavorable reviews and made little impact at the box office, where it opened as counterprogramming in June against summer's typically big-budgeted fare.

Oftentimes when TV shows make the leap to film, they try to grow, expand, and reveal new depths. Entourage, though, feels very much like the TV show it's based on, only its narrative takes it slightly longer than three episodes would.

Bros will be bros: the "Entourage" gang (Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, and Kevin Dillon) makes it to the big screen with their camaraderie intact.

The film opens with movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) inviting his entourage: best friend and manager Eric (Kevin Connolly), driver Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), and half-brother Johnny "Drama" (Kevin Dillon) to a boat party in Ibiza, Spain. Vincent is celebrating the dissolution of his 9-day marriage at his honeymoon destination with flowing booze and lots of scantily clad women.

Bros will be bros. In fact there are dozens of opportunities to invoke that phrase during this movie and I can only imagine how many times it applied to the series, of which I have only watched the first season.

We jump ahead eight months to find the 34-year-old Vincent embarking on an exciting new phase for his film career. He is about to make his directorial debut on Hyde, a $100 million budgeted effects-heavy new take on the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring none other than himself. Backing the project is Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), Vincent's agent for the past fifteen years who has gotten out of that game and is now the head of a studio.

Like Vincent, Ari has much at stake in this pricey undertaking. When the project goes over budget, he has to answer to cofinancers in Texas: a wealthy oil magnate (Billy Bob Thornton) and his portly son (Haley Joel Osment). In fact, the son makes trouble for the movie, demanding that Johnny, a longtime bit player excited to get his own big break in four scenes, is cut from the picture entirely.

Vincent's short-tempered agent turned studio head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) feels like he's in a movie of his own.

The filmmaking side doesn't much interest series creator Doug Ellin, who picks up his first feature directing credit since the 1998 David Schwimmer vehicle Kissing a Fool. Ellin, who shares story credit and attributes the screenplay entirely to himself, is more interested in the business dealings and even more than that, those bros being bros.
Each of the guys gets a romantic subplot: slimmed down vodka tycoon Turtle courts MMA fighter Ronda Roussey (playing herself), Eric sleeps around while his pregnant on-and-off girlfriend (Emmanuelle Chriqui) approaches her due date, Vincent hooks up with model-actress Emily Ratajkowski, and Johnny Drama gets caught sexy video chatting with a married woman.

More than anything else, Entourage is a parade of cameos. This would appear to shatter the record for most cameos in a single film. Perhaps it thinks of itself as a modern-day successor to Robert Altman's The Player. But that 1992 satire, which Michael Tolkin adapted from his novel, had a story and its cameos served to support and strengthen its setting. Entourage just seems to think it's cool to drop celebrity names and have famous people pop in briefly as themselves. It is jaw-dropping how many celebs were willing to do just that: James Cameron, Mark Cuban, Liam Neeson, Jessica Alba, Piers Morgan, David Spade, Bob Saget, David Arquette, Jon Favreau, Pharrell Williams, Ed O'Neill, Andrew Dice Clay, Kelsey Grammer, George Takei, David Faustino, Richard Schiff, Armie Hammer and, adding to his four appearances on the show, Wahlberg himself. There are more, but too many to mention and to include in the cast list above.

It's cool to see all these people playing with their public images and seizing what is often mere seconds of screentime. But it doesn't complement anything or add up to something special. It's famous people being famous. It's not really funny or clever or significant. The "who will be next?" angle does not succeed at diverting attention from the narrative's unremarkable and unappealing nature. Meanwhile, Piven seems to be (over)acting in a different project entirely. His detached scenes have the feel of a pilot of an Ari Gold sitcom that might amuse for an episode or two. I'd rather watch that hypothetical series closer to "Curb Your Enthusiasm" than more of what Vincent and his buddies get into with their stream of comic putdowns, changing sexual partners, and bros-for-life mentality.

Despite the fictional box office success of its movie star, Entourage sputtered in the real world, opening in fourth place and barely tripling that first weekend gross (the 47th worst put up by a 3,000+ theater release) en route to a front-loaded $32 million domestic and weak $12 million overseas. No one really expected this to be the smash hit that the first Sex and the City was, but the $30 million production budget indicates that Warner Bros. expected more from it. The film gets another chance to discover an audience with this week's Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack release.

Entourage: The Movie Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Descriptive Video Service, French, Spanish, Portuguese)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Descriptive Service, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish; BD-only: Portuguese
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Suggested Retail Price: $35.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50 & DVD-9)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as standalone DVD ($28.98 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Entourage may play like television, but it looks like film and not just any film, but a new film from a major studio which is treated to the highest quality picture on Blu-ray. The 2.40:1 visuals show off a couple of iffy compositions, but generally possess the sunny look of the series, displaying the glamour and luxury that comes with Hollywood fame. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio mix most comes to life with music, which flows regularly and prominently. Dialogue is crisp throughout and Warner also includes three dubs and a DVS track for the blind.

Jeremy Piven, creator/director Doug Ellin and four other leading actors gather and reminisce in "The Gang: Still Rockin' It." First-time director Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) discusses his behind-the-camera debut in "The Making of 'Hyde.'"

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Blu-ray's all-HD extras begin with "The Gang: Still Rockin' It" (14:18). After a comment from Mark Wahlberg on the series' genesis,
the film gathers creator Doug Ellin and his five lead actors to reflect on their years of making television together and having people respond to it. The series is fittingly excerpted.

"Hollywood, Baby!" (8:28) is a making-of featurette on the film, which serves up the usual talking heads and behind-the-scenes footage. They talk about all the cool things they got to see, drive, and party on here.

"The Making of Hyde" (4:34) takes us behind the scenes of Vincent Chase's big budget directorial debut, with a look at the effects-aided rave sequence glimpsed at in the film and some comments from Adrian Grenier in character as Vincent Chase.

Gary Busey drinks and acts weird in some of the extended party scene bits that didn't make it into the film. Creator's son Lucas Ellin discusses playing Jonah Gold back in the mid-Noughties and again in the movie.

Next up is a long reel of six deleted scenes (18:39). It provides unused bits from the big star-studded party scene (including lots more of various cameo-makers), additional red carpet footage from the Golden Globes (with appearances by Al Roker and Carson Daly), more from the mid-end credits wedding, more of Hyde (and Ari watching it), and a couple of unseen moments from Drama's awkward audition.

You knew there'd have to be a gag reel for this movie and there is (2:46). It features alternate takes and goofy moments beyond description.

The last two extras look at creator Doug Ellin's young son,
who portrays Ari Gold's son in the show and the movie. "Meet the Newest Member of Entourage" (2:16) interviews him at a young age for the TV series, while "Lucas Ellin is Jonah Gold" (1:59) catches a now 12-year-old Lucas' thoughts on the movie.

The DVD's only extra is the same 19-minute reel of deleted scenes.

The Blu-ray opens with a promo for Digital HD. The DVD starts with an anti-tobacco Truth spot, followed by trailers for San Andreas, "Entourage": Season 8, Vacation, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Digital HD.

On each disc, the menu scores a cast shot used for poster art.

Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), and Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) get their send-off on the big screen in the "Entourage" movie.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The film Entourage has little value for those who don't already hold an affinity for the TV series on which it's based and the unsympathetic characters that form it. This Hollywood bro comedy will not be everyone's cup of tea and I'm of the belief it shouldn't be.

Warner's Blu-ray combo packs on the deleted scenes and other appropriate extras. If you like the series enough to own it, then you might as well get this to complete the story and your collection.

Buy Entourage: The Movie from Amazon.com: Blu-ray Combo Pack / DVD / Instant Video

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Reviewed October 9, 2015.



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