[6 April 2007]
Detroit Free Press (MCT)
Let the Hollywood good times roll.
“Entourage” is back and ready to party. The occasion? It’s young dreamboat movie star Vince Chase’s birthday. And he’s celebrating after recently acquiring a cool new agent, Amanda, who also happens to be a hottie.
Wait, where’s good old abrasive Ari Gold, Vince’s manic, hot-tempered original agent? Oh, that’s right. Vince and Ari are kaput, no longer joined at the La La Land hip in the pursuit of movie superstardom. And so it goes.
Well, not exactly.
The sly and funny Hollywood satirical shuffle of “Entourage” returns with eight new episodes for the second part of its third season at 10 p.m. EDT Sunday on HBO. In it, Ari is desperately scheming to get back with Vince. And that’s when the real rollicking fun begins.
It’s easy to underestimate the witty good times to be had with “Entourage.”
When it first arrived in the summer of 2004, the stories of Vince and his live-in, pleasure-seeking posse of New York home boys from Queens resembled little more than an amiable, testosterone twist on “Sex and the City.”
But the series—created by Doug Ellin and loosely inspired by the early movie career experiences of executive producer Mark Wahlberg (“The Departed”)—soon proved to be its own unique and clever, Hollywood-zinging thing. And it just keeps getting better.
Like “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” before it on HBO, “Entourage” delivers its knowing movie and celebrity-culture humor with an edge that’s both sharp and smart.
Plus, the show’s just a whole lot of hang-loose fun as real-life celebrities both A-list and not, from Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Alba to Pauly Shore and Jimmy Kimmel, pop up to do self-spoofing cameo appearances. And who knew Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron (“Titanic”) actually had a sense of humor about himself? He proved it while turning Vince into a summer blockbuster “Aquaman.”
But the real comic joys and A-list jollies of “Entourage” are rooted in the relationships of Vince, played to pretty boy perfection by Adrian Grenier (“The Devil Wears Prada”) and his band of nutty buddies: manager and longtime best friend Eric (E) Murphy (Kevin Connolly), burly driver and gofer Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), and fellow actor and half brother Johnny (Drama) Chase (the excellent Kevin Dillon).
OK, we forgot someone. Ari Gold has given ace merry prankster Jeremy Piven the breakout role of his life, as well as a limelight pat on the back with Golden Globe and Emmy awards.
So where’s Ari? As we said, he’s scheming and conniving, not merely satisfied to have his new high-powered agency. He really, really wants Vince back. And he has a plan that involves Vince’s on-again, off-again dream project, a “Scarface”-style epic called “Medellin,” based on the life of Colo mbian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.
But Benicio Del Toro supposedly now has that hot project all locked up.
And besides, Vince’s no-nonsense new agent, glamorous Amanda (Carla Gugino), has other movie ideas for Vince. She wants him to class up his image by starring in an Edith Wharton period film. Say what?
Say, isn’t it time for Vince’s gala birthday party? And doesn’t imaginative party planner Turtle have a big and lavish surprise to kick the celebration into overdrive? Absolutely.
So let the grins begin. “Entourage” is rolling again.
THE `ENTOURAGE’ PLAYERS
Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier): Hot young movie star and babe magnet. Scored summer blockbuster points in “Aquaman,” but yearns to do more artistically challenging films.
Eric (E) Murphy (Kevin Connolly): Vince’s closest confidante, his control-freaky business manager and longtime friend from back home in Queens, N.Y.
Johnny (Drama) Chase (Kevin Dillon): Yo, Johnny Drama! The B-list actor and Vince’s half brother—best remembered for his role in cheesy sci-fi series “Viking Quest”—craves another shot at big-time fame.
Turtle (Jerry Ferrara): He’s the roly-poly party boy, gofer and chauffeur. Once tried managing young hip-hop star Saigon. Loves the weed, the women and baggy pro sports regalia.
Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven): Vince’s former agent, a hyper hothead with definite skills and an ego the size of Chavez Ravine. He desperately wants Vince back BAMN: By Any Means Necessary.