TV hit ‘Entourage’ must remain cautious in move to film

February 12, 2013

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The recent announcement that HBO’s “Entourage” will continue with a film was greeted with enthusiasm by some — and an annoyed groan from others. Rather than being received as exciting news of a successful TV show making it to the big screen, the announcement confirmed what many knew: Hollywood lacks originality. “Entourage” isn’t the first television series to culminate in a film adaptation, but as its predecessors have proven, a popular TV show does not always guarantee a successful movie.

But it does seem fitting that “Entourage” is making the leap to the big screen, as the film’s core premise revolves around the movie industry. The series starred Adrian Grenier as Vincent Chase, an actor trying to become the next big thing in Hollywood with the help of his well-intentioned childhood friends and ruthless agent.

The abundance of winks at Hollywood and celebrity cameos found in each 30-minute episode, however, may not translate well when expanded to a full two hours. The self-reflexive gimmicks of the show may even result in a movie that is too in love with its own medium.

The true issue with an “Entourage” movie — the real matter that has been fueling its somewhat premature criticism — is whether there is enough story left to tell. After eight seasons and a series finale that neatly wrapped up most story lines, there can’t be much left to say about Vince and his crew.

Fellow HBO comedy “Sex and the City” also traveled to the big screen after six hugely successful television seasons. For fans of the show, the film version was an entertaining continuation of the main characters’ lives, and the fans showed their support at the box office.

Had it ended there, “Sex and the City” would have been an example of a fairly successful TV-to-film adaptation. However, two years later, “Sex and the City 2” came to theaters and erased any goodwill the series had previously established. While the first film gave each character a solid ending, the sequel protracted what was truly a finished story, this time in an exotic locale.

“Entourage” has something else in common with “Sex and the City” — both tend to appeal more to one gender than the other. “Sex and the City,” with its emphasis on female friendship and various dating adventures, catered to a mostly female audience, while the bromantic “Entourage” found more male viewers. But the first “Sex and the City” movie proves that even with a limited target audience, there is success to be found when a finished series returns as a film.

Whether the “Entourage” movie becomes a surprise hit or a complete failure really depends on two simple factors: its quality as a film and the dedication of the show’s fans.  If the movie disappoints, no one but the most devoted fans will pay to watch “Entourage” in a theater.  As a show, it never truly entered the public consciousness the way “Sex and the City” did, and with the series finale having aired over a year prior to the “Entourage” film’s probable release date, audiences may have already moved on to the next big thing.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 12 print edition. Samantha Rullo is Highlighter editor. Email her at srullo@nyunews.com.

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