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HBO comedy ‘Entourage’ is one sweet treat
There’s something to be said for a well-made trifle.
Indeed, a near total absence of profundity and pretension is one of the joys of Entourage. A meandering comic soap about life among Hollywood’s idle rich and famous, Entourage doesn’t push as hard to impress, or to break through TV’s boundaries, as most HBO series do. And it is the better for it.
Just because the series isn’t deep, however, doesn’t mean it’s vapid. In its own understated way, Entourage is a kind of comedy of bad manners, an anti-morality play in which victory almost always goes to the least deserving.
At the top of that list is Vince (Adrian Grenier), a star to whom more than his share of good things flow. At the temporary bottom is Ari (Jeremy Piven), a still-successful agent who has lost Vince as a client and fears he may be losing the sharpest part of his edge.
Ari’s goal as the show launches into the second half of its season? Get Vince back and regain the evil joy he takes in firing people and insulting the staff.
The plus side of Ari’s search for non-redemption, aside from the opportunities it provides Piven for a wider range of rants, is that it makes room for a new agent in Vince’s life: Amanda, played by the always enticing Carla Gugino. There’s obvious sexual tension between the two, and just as obviously, there’s only one direction in which that tension is going to lead.
The crisis is built around Vince’s search for a new film. Amanda wants him to do an Edith Wharton movie. But Vince and Eric (Kevin Connolly) still long to do the much-discussed Medellin. And Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Drama (Kevin Dillon) continue their hunt to bed every brain-free woman in Hollywood.
Plot matters less than the trappings of success. Yet underneath all that geniality is the strain that comes from knowing your hold on the trappings is tenuous.
Piven justifiably grabs much of the attention, but the entire cast is worthy of praise, starting with Grenier as the not-as-guileless-as-he-seems Vince. And has any sitcom ever put forth a more believable picture of a deluded hanger-on than Dillon’s Drama?
So indulge. Entourage, after all, is all about Hollywood, and indulgence is what Hollywood is all about.