Unlike the former, the latter was still able to welcome in audiences who've never seen a minute of the adventures of Carrie Bradshaw and her gal-pals Cynthia, Miranda and Samantha, primarily because each character had their own personal arc and we got to see them evolve, which made for a rewarding experience to a SATM novice like myself. In contrast, the former opens with Vince having a party on a boat to celebrate his divorce and shagging one of the female guests onboard, and it ends with the boys walking the red carpet for the Golden Globes. There isn't much character development with any of the leads, save E who becomes a father. Vince is still a womanizing Lothario, Drama continues to have personal crises, usually of his making, Ari is still a huge prick, and Turtle is...well, Turtle, but even Ferrara's character isn't given much to do.
I probably should explain the jist of the plot of Entourage: The Movie: Vince decides he want to take the next step in his career, and he does so by going behind the camera to write and direct a retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with a $100 million budget. Unfortunately, the project went overbudget during post-production and Ari is left with the task of asking for more money from their benefactor Larsen (Billy Bob Thorton) a wealthy Texas tycoon who's financing the movie, in addition to dealing with his horndog son (an unrecognizable Haley Joel Osmet - yes, the kid who saw dead people in The Sixth Sense) who has hijacked the project because he has "concerns" and "ideas" about which direction the film should take. The whole thing is a brisk 105 minutes, and the film, despite the lack of character development and falling back on old tricks from the show, never wears out its welcome; a fact that was sorely missed by the latter HBO series-turned movie, as Sex and the City ran for almost 2 1/2 hours.
As I said earlier, you'll either love being back with these characters, or hate how the whole thing feels like a self-glorified victory lap, there's not much middle ground. For me, though? Entourage, despite many shortcomings, is still a fun and occasionally funny satire on Hollywood and celebrity culture. There's a kick hearing Jane's Addiction's "Superhero" belting through the opening credits, much like the show's opener did for the past decade. The camaraderie between Grenier, Connolly, Dillon, Ferrara and Piven is still as strong as it was when the show began (well done Doug Ellin, the film's screenwriter and director). And it is funny seeing Liam Nesson telling Ari to go fuck himself, or watching Drama fall prey to his own over-inflated ego. Simply put, Entourage is a blast. Now let's hope Mark Walberg, one of the film's producers or Ellin himself don't do anything stupid, like make an unnecessary sequel (I'm looking at you, Sex and the City 2).
** 1/2 stars out of ****