Entourage: The Complete Second Season (DVD)
After three months shooting an indie film in the Big Apple, the boys are back in La-la-land. Eric is officially Vince's manager, Turtle is running the house, Drama is hoping to enhance his onscreen assets...and Ari is pushing a blockbuster superhero role for his golden-boy client.
The most clever thing producers did with the second season of Entourage, HBO's hip and hilariously accurate depiction of Hollywood, was to take the boys out of Hollywood. Sending star-on-the-rise Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his boys from Queens (hence the title of the show) into places like Sundance and ComiCon created a whole new treasure trove of inside jokes, and for that we thank them. The usual clutter of celeb cameos abound (Hugh Hefner, Pauly Shore, Ralph Macchio,), but one main story arc takes up the entire season: Vincent's casting in Aquaman, the big-budget movie he didn't want to star in, and then had to vie against Leonardo DiCaprio to get. Mandy Moore turns up as the only girl who ever broke Vince's heart (on the set of A Walk to Remember, allegedly) and now re-enters his life as his Aquagirl, while James Cameron makes a few appearances as director of the superhero project. In the meantime, Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) goes from moocher to music manager, Eric (Kevin Connolly) gets courted to be a big-time agent, and Johnny "Drama" (Kevin Dillon, ever the punchline) ponders calf implants and gets fired from a Movie of the Week with Brooke Shields. The biggest turn of events, however, happens to Vince's slick agent Ari Gold (an Emmy-worthy Jeremy Piven), who pulls a Jerry Maguire by the end of the season. Ari's ability to switch sides on a dime -- that is, to choke up at his daughter's bat mitzvah, then manipulate the family moment into a publicity stunt to lure his client away from a rival, continues to make Piven the firecracker of the bunch. Grenier is slightly less vacuous than last season, but still has the least interesting personality (which could be the point of the show--that it takes a village to make any Joe Actor into a movie star) .
Unfortunately the DVD features no commentary and just one extra: Executive Producer Mark Wahlberg, on whom the show is based, interviews the cast and producers. The banter is interesting enough, but Wahlberg makes such a dull interviewer it's certain we won't see a talk-show host career in Vince's future. --Ellen A. Kim