Entourage: Season 3 Part 1 (DVD)
With Vince's star expected to rise even higher in the Hollywood firmament as a result of his starring role in a potential blockbuster titled Aquaman, the boys must find a way to keep stroking their golden goose while making sound decisions for a long-lasting career in a world of fleeting fame.
The third season of HBO's inside-showbiz comedy kicks off with a familiar anxiety for Tinseltown's best: your film's opening-weekend box office. In the case of Vince (Adrian Grenier) and company, it's Aquaman, Vince's big break that took up most of last season and elevated the group to even bigger perks and tchotchkes. Luckily, the numbers are good (creator Doug Ellin reveals in the commentary that the episode was inspired by his friend who was with Tobey Maguire when he first heard Spider-Man's opening numbers) and Vince uses the leverage to chase his dream project, a biopic of Pablo Escobar called Medellin. But first he has to schmooze the film's eccentric producer who's strangely attached to his Shrek doll (Bruno Kirby, in his last role before his death in 2006) and juggle scheduling conflicts with the Aquaman sequel, which leads to an ego war with Warner studio chief Allen Grey (Paul Ben-Victor). Meanwhile, Turtle's (Jerry Ferrara) management of upstart rapper Saigon takes some sharp turns; Eric (Kevin Connolly) finds his relationship with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chiriqui) on shaky ground; and Johnny "Drama" Chase (Kevin Dillon) gets to audition for a television pilot directed by Ed Burns (playing himself). But the overarching storyline for season 3 involves Vince's agent Ari Gold (Emmy winner Jeremy Piven), who was canned last season by his agency. Taking his flamboyant, hilarious assistant Lloyd (Rex Lee) with him, Ari goes about setting up his own firm, but not before drawing fire from the mafia of other agents and threatening his relationship with star client Vince. The only weak storyline involves an old childhood pal (Domenick Lombardozzi), fresh out of prison, trying to nudge his way into Vince's gang. But otherwise the show's inside look at the baptism of the newly famous continues to tickle the funny bone.
As usual, Entourage sprinkles in cameos, including Crash director Paul Haggis hilariously playing himself as a wound-up neurotic ("If I let contracts run my life, I'd still be doing The Facts of Life rather than hanging with my boys," he says as he points to his Oscars). James Woods filches Aquaman premiere tickets for his friends, and Seth Green gets in a rumble with Eric in the episode "Vegas Baby Vegas." Extras are still scant: just three commentaries and a featurette on their Vegas-location episode. --Ellen A. Kim