Rated R {4 out of 5 stars)

There’s been a hole in my heart since Entourage ended. Sure, the last season was total garbage, and when you look at the whole of the series, well, it wasn’t like life-affirming, high-brow entertainment. It was just a bunch of dudes being dudes, but on a level of dude-dom that the rest of us could only hope to achieve. I have to admit that I had very low expectations for the Entourage movie (weren’t most of Vinny Chase’s films flops?) but maybe it’s for that reason that I enjoyed this movie so much.

We pick up where the final HBO season left off. Mega movie star Vincent Chase’s (Adrian Grenier) impetuous marriage to a reporter he barely knew has ended after nine days, but he ain’t even mad. The couple decided they were better off friends, so Vince is throwing a big-ass party on a boat off the coast of Ibiza. Of course his big brother Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) and his two best friends—his loyal lackey turned tequila tycoon Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and his manager Eric (Kevin Connolly)—are invited, and everyone’s having a blast. But no one can party forever. Not even the Entourage boys. Enter Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), Vince’s Hollywood power agent, who’s coming out of retirement to head a movie studio, and he’s got an awesome project greenlit for his favorite movie star. The catch? Vince wants to act and direct this one. SAY WHAAAAA …

Fast forward a few months. The project is way over budget. The studio is going to have Ari’s head if he doesn’t deliver a blockbuster, and Vince, normally the poster child for confidence, is beginning to doubt himself. One thing’s for sure, though, the movie—an effects-laden, dystopian future flick dubbed Hyde—will never even get finished if the boys don’t get more money. Ari has to travel to Texas to woo the film’s investor, Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton), to dig deeper into his cavernous pockets even though no one’s even seen a frame of this thing. Larsen agrees, but only if his flunky son Travis (Haley Joel Osment) gives Hyde a favorable review. Meanwhile, the love of Eric’s life, Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), is about to give birth to their child, and are they together or aren’t they together, but they’re going to Lamaze class together and yadda, yadda … How will all this turn out for the guys?

In a word: Awesome. That’s how everything eventually turns out for the guys. They drive fancy cars, go to fancy parties and have sex with even fancier women, and not just once in a while, but on the regular. Sure, careers and reputations are on the line for these characters, but there are never really any dire situations. If Hyde ends up being a flop, the guys would probably just hop in their sleek new Cadillac convertible and drive back to Turtle’s beachside mansion and cry about it. No one’s going to end up living on the street begging for money.

The stakes are low, but fortunately, the entertainment value is high. Entourage plays fast and loose for the most part, allowing all the show’s signature characters their moments to shine without getting bogged down in unnecessary plot points (though it would have been nice to see bigger contributions from Rex Lee’s Lloyd and Rhys Coiro’s Billy Walsh, both of whom always shined in supporting roles in the series). Of the big five, it’s no surprise that Piven is most on-point as Ari, who in the film struggles against reverting to his tendency for sudden outbursts of work-stress rage that nearly ended his marriage. Also, Dillon provides some of the film’s more memorable moments, as Johnny comes to grips with playing second fiddle to his baby bro while still hoping to carve his own niche in Hollywood.

For fans of the show, the movie will basically feel like a 104-minute bro hug, but those who missed the cable series will find a lot to enjoy. An interview segment early on with Piers Morgan (one of the film’s many celebrity cameos, my favorites being Jessica Alba and Armie Hammer) gives a quick rundown of everything you missed while giving a wink and nod to Entourage fan boys, such as showing the infamous Mentos commercial that introduced Vince to Ari, and flashing a picture of Eric working at the Sbarro in Queens.

Entourage is basically Sex and the City for post-teen man-boys, so what you see is what you get. But for what it’s worth, the former’s first foray to the big screen was more successful than the latter’s. High five, bro.