I don’t know why I am ashamed to admit this. I’ve long existed with the ethos of not being ashamed in regards to what you like, but this is still a touchy topic. Here goes:
I watched and enjoyed every season of Entourage.
I even thought the show had a really good finale.
Sure, it was, at its core, a show about hedonism, but you were never supposed to like the characters, at least in my perception of the series. Instead, the glitz and glamor of it all was supposed to make you want to live vicariously through them. In that regard, Entourage was successful.
I’ve often, even today, heard people refer to it as Sex and the City for men, but personally I’ve hated that comparison. Maybe it’s because of my rather strong dislike for Sarah Jessica Parker, but I’ve always felt that Entourage was designed to appeal to not only a male demographic but a female one as well…to some extent. After all, Adrien Grenier is relatively attractive and the show contained moments that anyone could enjoy regardless of gender. At the same time, the show was not exactly kind to women and could adequately be described as misogynistic in many ways.
I was interested in the movie from the moment it was first announced, but beyond the fatal flaw of having a movie with a very focused audience, there are some things that need to be answered. First though, if you take the ratings (3.1 million people according to EW) when the show ended and assume everyone one of those people want to see the movie it’ll still not break even based on it’s budget. That means beyond those people, they have to rely on friends dragged along, people who, like my brother, have watched the series in the years since it ended, and people who decide to go see it even though they’ve never seen an episode of the show. So, this brings us to what I think is going to be required for this movie to be any kind of success.
1. DON’T try to reinvent the show.
At its core, Entourage worked because it was a show about a group of friends trying to survive Hollywood: Vincent “Vinnie” Chase (Adrian Grenier), Eric Murphy (Kevin Connoly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon). No matter what happened around them and whether they failed or succeeded, whether they were being good people or bad people, it always came back to the four of them against the world. None of them were ever made by Vinnie to feel like lesser beings; they all were part of the machine of their joint lives. If the movie forgets this bond it will throw off the focus and make it about the infighting and not about them trying to succeed as a unit.
2. Ari needs to yell. A lot.
One of the best things about Entourage was the angry Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven). His constant yelling at anyone and everyone and his loving feud with Eric provided some of the show’s best moments. His anger could often be mistaken for his general hatred of everything around him, but in a lot of ways it was more about his obsession with what he saw as winning, and his passion for his work. Ari yelling is as essential to Entourage as anything.
3. Continue the stories left as cliffhangers in the series.
The movie doesn’t necessarily need to focus on every detail of the lives of the characters but it needs to at least answer a few simple questions. Is Vinnie still married? Did Eric marry his pregnant ex-girlfriend? Is Turtle happy and has Drama finally found the real success he was always looking? Beyond those simple things there shouldn’t need to be to much direct continuation of the show’s plot for it to be enjoyable.
4. Treat people a little bit better, especially women.
When going back and re-watching Entourage one of the main problems I had with the show was how the characters treat women, especially Turtle and Drama. Even though it was only a few years ago, the show was able to get away with almost absurd levels of objectifying women, such as when Turtle went around handing out invites to a premiere party and told women they weren’t attractive enough to get one. Beyond just the completely awful treatment of women, it’s just bad storytelling and would result in undoing all character development that was subtly done over the years of the show itself.
5. Make the movie enjoyable for anyone who has never watched the show.
I think above all, the thing this movie needs to do to be most successful is to attract an audience outside its fan-base. If you don’t need to have seen the show to enjoy the film, it’ll make room for an even wider audience and strong potential at the box office. Otherwise, as I stated earlier, there just may not be enough people going to see it in order for it to make back its money.
Now even with these things being dealt with, I’m still not overly hopeful for the film. It just seems kind of difficult to make a successful movie that is meant to finish up a story that was six years in the making, and judging from the harsh reviews, it hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations. I’ll stay optimistic and reserve judgment until I see the final product. Hopefully they’ve addressed at least some of the items listed above.