HBO // 2007 // 240 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mike MacNeil (Retired) // October 17th, 2007
Dr. Marcus: So you felt protective over someone else.
Ari Gold: Yeah, and it made me sick!
Dr. Marcus: Ari, these are good things. Sounds like you're evolving.
Ari Gold: I don't want to evolve, I want to get back to me. I like me!
That little dialogue exchange between Ari (Jeremy Piven) and his therapist sums up Entourage pretty well. It's a show populated by characters that are thoroughly enjoying their high-rolling lifestyle, but that keep on getting dragged into the machinations of corporate Hollywood to maintain their status. The show wants so badly to be about a bunch of guys with a lot of money that know how to party, but the cast and crew inject just enough realism into the mix that the characters are forced to play by the rules of the business, and they can't help but be changed by their experiences. Make no mistake, though: rare is the episode of Entourage that doesn't include scenes of a nightclub, bar, or posh house party populated almost entirely by scantily-clad ladies. The pathos and character development are purely incidental.
Entourage returns from its midseason hiatus with eight more episodes of the exploits of Vince (Adrian Grenier), E (Kevin Connolly), Johnny "Drama" (Kevin Dillon), and Turtle (Jerry Ferrarra). The second part of Season Three is spread over two discs.
* "Less Than 30"
Vince's new agent, Amanda, does her best to keep Ari away from Vince, but that's easier said than done when Ari brings up the possibility of turning Medellin, Vince's dream project, into reality. Meanwhile, Turtle needs to come up with a way to throw Vince a killer birthday party on a budget.
* "Dog Day Afternoon"
Drama and Turtle take their dog, Arnold, to the dog park. The guys chase more tail than the dog does. E has been planning a vacation to Napa Valley, and while Vince ponders which girl to bring with him, E struggles to find a tactful way to tell Vince that he'd rather just go to the valley with his girlfriend, Sloan.
* "Manic Monday"
The guys attempt to read the script Amanda's been advocating, but no one can get through it. Ari finds, much to his surprise, that he's having trouble firing one of his employees, and Vince and Amanda end up being extremely honest with each other.
Vince and Amanda are mixing business and pleasure, much to E's chagrin. Ari has houseguests: his old college frat buddy (Artie Lange) and his buddy's unexpectedly beautiful fiancee (Leslie Bibb). Drama is the target on Pauly Shore's Punk'd-style hidden-camera show. He also manages to get Chuck Liddell, of UFC fame, really mad.
* "Return of the King"
Ari thinks he's got a way to deliver Medellin to Vince. It all goes down on Yom Kippur, though, and Ari's wife has confiscated his cell phone. Amanda's not exactly thrilled to be working with Ari. What does Drama get to do this episode, you ask? Glad you brought it up. He buys a horse after it loses a race.
* "The Resurrection"
Drama's feeling extremely tense about the premiere of his TV pilot, Five Towns. Turtle's down at the body shop, entertaining the possibility of an honest-to-God romantic relationship with a girl, and Ari's trying to convince E and Vince that, in order to make Medellin, they'll have to make Matterhorn first.
* "The Prince's Bride"
Drama heads to Brett Ratner's abode upon hearing that the director has a part for him in Rush Hour 3. Ari has tracked down a potentiail financier for Medellin, but it seems the man's wife is after Vince. Turtle goes on a date. I kid you not.
* "Adios Amigos"
The guys have to say goodbye to the house as E and Vince pour everything they have into Medellin. Soon Drama's looking at condos, and E's in the market for a director.
The most common criticism I hear leveled against Entourage is that the show isn't about anything, as if a television show needs to have a driving plot, like 24 and Prison Break, which strikes me as an odd notion to have about television. It's also a weird thing to say about this particular show because as laid-back as Vincent Chase is, this is a show that moves along at a good clip. I can't tell you how many times I've watched an episode and felt surprised to see the end credits roll. This season does have some self-contained plots, but for the most part, the writers keep the boys on the move, always chasing the next big project.
As Johnny Drama, Kevin Dillon has honed his comic timing and delivery so finely by now that even the most offhand remarks elicit a laugh. More importantly, you'll actually find yourself feeling sorry for Drama in "The Resurrection," when he has to confront the possibility that his TV pilot could be the latest in a long line of failures. After three and a half seasons of playing Drama's defeats for laughs, it's impressive to see Dillon effectively play it straight.
Likewise, Jerry Ferrarra gets to take a break from playing the perpetually stoned mooch in "The Resurrection" and "The Prince's Bride," when Turtle meets a girl that he likes for her personality. She's incredibly hot, of course, but hey, he's conversing with her. Ferrarra and Dillon have always been great at bringing the laughs, but this time around their characters become a little more humanized, which is something they desperately needed.
Vince and E have always fared a little better in terms of character development, and that tradition continues here. E is still doing everything he can to advance Vince's career, and Vince is still relying on his best friend to do so. Grenier gets some great scenes as Vince when he's trying to secure Medellin. Vince is usually just portrayed as this easygoing ladies' man, but there's an underlying artistic integrity and enthusiasm for the projects he chooses, and it's always nice to see that highlighted.
Of course, no discussion of the rich characters on Entourage would be complete without mentioning Jeremy Piven's performance as Ari Gold, which continues to be excellent. Turns out Ari's hyper-aggressive persona has been hampered by the loss of Vince as a client, and the obnoxious windbag is shocked to find that their separation has affected him emotionally.
Guest stars abound, as per usual, including Chuck Lidell, Brett Ratner, and Pauly Shore all playing themselves. I'm still laughing at Shore's ridiculous hidden-camera show, "Gotcha!," and his catch-phrase, "you got Got!"
Sound and picture are exceptional; L.A. rarely looks as good as it does on Entourage, and I highly recommend cranking the volume, because the soundtrack is great. The three commentary tracks with Dillon, Ferrarra, and show creator Doug Ellin, one of which also includes Kevin Connolly, are funny if not terribly informative. The guys have a great rapport, and it's easy to see why they're so effective at playing lifelong friends on the show.
Entourage has still got it. The show continues to push its characters, and the longtime viewers get to watch them grow. For anyone that's just dropping in on the boys, expecting a show with filthy rich guys clubbing, smoking pot, and sleeping with lots of gorgeous women, well, Entourage has you covered there, too.
Not guilty, bro.
Review content copyright © 2007 Mike MacNeil; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.66:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 240 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Three Audio Commentaries with Creator/Executive Producer Doug Ellin, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, and Jerry Ferrara
* "Anatomy of Entourage" Featurette
* Museum of Television & Radio Interview
* Official Site
* Season One Review
* Season Two Review
* Season Three, Part 1 Review