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STUDIO: Warner/HBO
MSRP: $39.95
RATED:
NR
RUNNING TIME: 360 Minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Three commentaries
  • ‘The Celebrity Factor’

The Pitch

For the fifth straight year four guys do some stuff in Hollywood while their agent goes batshit about their business stuff.

The Humans

Adrian Grenier. Kevin Connolly. Kevin Dillon. Jerry Ferrara. Jeremy Piven. Rex Lee. Perrey Reeves.


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The Nutshell

Entourage is a bizarre show. It’s not about epic, twisting storylines or in the crafting of a really funny punchline. It’s not exceedingly clever and the characters are not laden with much depth. It has coasted on the charm and zeitgeist grabbing characters and ridden them like gilded Pegasi.

And it somehow works.


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The Lowdown

This is the fifth season of the show and after four seasons of Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier) and his misfit friends living at the top of the world, Entourage has handed them failure to digest. Medellin, Vincent’s dream project is a big fat dog of a movie and no one wants to hire him. As a result the boys are in financial dire straits and everyone BUT Vince seem to be onwards and upwards.

It’s not a major tonal shift for the show, nor does the show need it. This is a 30 minute bit of fun light entertainment made worthwhile by a few signature moments rather than something meant to achieve the result of truly seminal comedy shows like Arrested Development or 30 Rock [or Top Gear, which destroys them all]. It’s the little things that bring me back to this show. Seeing Jeremy Piven lose his shit, which is transcendent. Though the show sometimes coasts on Piven’s Ari Gold having a profanity-laced meltdown, there are few better pairings of performer and character as this. HBO has the great luck to have featured a steady line of some the very best likable assholes in television history [Larry David, Tony Soprano, Al Swearengen, and Jimmy McNulty come to mind] and Ari Gold is right near the top of the list. Somewhere between Archie Bunker and David Brent, which is glorious company.

Little things like watching Kevin Dillon’s Johnny Drama getting himself in a predicament or Lloyd, Ari’s gay assistant handling incredible amounts of torment with grace and Teflon charm. It’s stuff like that which allows the show to accomplish a lot from very little.



“Call your goons off Garth or I’m never coming back to Australia!”


There’s efforts being made to improve the depth of the show, though. Over the course of the series it’s become apparent that Johnny Drama and Ari Gold are the comic relief characters and the real dramatic center is Kevin Connelly’s producer/manager Eric. Vincent Chase is the catalyst and little else. Here we are starting to see Adrien Grenier step up a bit to where Vinnie isn’t the Golden God and someone who begins to earn his status. That’s good, since Eric/Connolly is a little too bland a centerpiece to hang a show around.
Additionally, Turtle, my least favorite character, finally seems to be getting a little leash to not just be the value-added stoner and stooge.

Five seasons is the big test for a television show. Now that they’ve pulled off the five year haul and opened the golden gates to syndication heaven I’m surprised to see the show beginning to try and grow. Consistently with the whole onscreen story I expected it to burn out and fizzle once the sheen wore off. Entourage isn’t the “it” show anymore. If they make an effort to improve a little away from the spotlight it’ll be a nice change.



“No I will not be at BLOBCON ’09, now lose this number!”


As it stands this is an entertaining if forgettable season. There’s the parade of incidents, guest stars, and beautiful women. There’s the Ari meltdowns, Johnny Drama almost ruining every opportunity, and Eric’s attempts to broaden his creative horizons (with fun supporting work from the likes of Lucas Haas and Giovani Ribisi and further sparring with Seth Green). There’s a sad shortage of the lovely Perrey Reeves and an unfortunate surplus of Debi Mazar.

Luckily, the show has a very capable ensemble with phenomenal chemistry and after five seasons of this a viewer has a good idea of this is a show worth spending your time with. For me, after it’s all said and done, Entourage is worth the time. Even when it’s not great it’s watchable and it is the safest way to experience the Hollywood machine without getting ground up in the cogs.


“I’ll be back, Bennett.”                    “Only in a rerun.”

The Package


“You used your big break on a Melissa Joan Hart movie, so you’re lucky they even let you VISIT Hollywood.”


The special features are minimal, though it is nice to listen to the creator (Doug Ellin, who is engaging and truly likable) and some of his cast discuss the show on the three commentary tracks. I’d have liked to have seen them give the actors their own track to freeform, but it’s so rare that corporations allow that kind of creative freedom on a product.

The featurette is decent but fleeting.

But it’s Entourage, so it’s not like folks are buying this for the special features.

7.5 out of 10