recording for the latest podcast (coming soon…we promise!), we got into a
discussion of comedians/comedic actors who get trapped into an onscreen persona
and are unable to find significant and/or successful work outside of it. Missing
from that discussion was Jeremy Piven, whose still-pretty-damn-good turn as Ari
on Entourage
has been both career-defining and career-limiting. Since then, we’ve gotten
a host of Ari offshoot flavors including wet-eyed and coked-out (Smokin’
) and gray-wigged (The Kingdom), but nothing
distinctive to make you think he’s got more than one trick in the arsenal. If
he were a superhero, Piven would have a quiver full of boxing glove arrows.

I’m not
sure that’s ever going to change even though his latest project has some darn
talented co-conspirators. Piven just signed to star in The Goods: The Don Ready Story,
a new comedy produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay with Neal Brennan (Chappelle’s
) due to direct. As far as starts go…not bad, right? The script is
from newcomers Rick Stempson and Andy Stock, and it’s the story of a big shot
used-car liquidator hired to save a dealership during an Independence Day
weekend sale, which is to say it’s a movie version of that TV show King
of Cars
except it’ll try to be funnier (no easy task).

But a
fast-talking, larger-than-life huckster? Sure Piven’s a natural, but that
allure gets a little bit less special with every new spin he puts on it. I
think Entourage has been running on fumes for awhile now, so it’s
understandable that Piv would jump onboard such a well-pedigreed comedy
project on ze bigscreen. But I think the guy has always worked best as a supporting player in
measured doses, and I’m not confident that this is going to change that. We’ll
see. The most interesting part of this project to me is that it’s going to be
distributed by Paramount Vantage, their kinda-sorta indie wing. Might that
allude to some surprises behind this generic premise? Let’s hope so.