Doug Ellin/USA/2006; R4 (2-disc)
Warner Bros, NZ$39.95 | Reviewed by Darren Bevan

WHEN WE last saw Vince and his crew, long time agent Ari Gold had just been shown the door, fired after losing Vince his pet project (a Ramones film). So when the second part of the season picks up, it’s all change for the boys with Adrian Grenier’s Vince now signed up with Carla Gugino’s Amanda: an attractive woman whose charms are not lost on Vince himself. In fact, the first time we see her, Vince asks “Is that my agent or America’s Next Top Model?”

However, there was never really any way that Jeremy Piven’s obnoxious agent was ever going to be sidelined (especially after picking up a Golden Globe for his recent portrayal), and within minutes of the first episode, Ari is seen pining for his beloved client, debating whether to call him on his birthday and even going as far as dialling him and then hanging up; an easy pastiche of every post-break up routine by those in denial the relationship is over.

So it’s fair to say that it’s another season stealing turn from Piven – he does everything in his power to try and reel Vince back by offering him the chance to get back another dream role as Pablo Escobar in Medellín. But Gugino’s Amanda isn’t going to let Ari win so easily.

The second half of the trail blazing season sees a slight dip in creativity; to be honest, the entire season plot about Vince’s brother Johnny Drama returning to TV screens in an Ed Burns series just gives Kevin Dillon the chance to plumb new depths of stupidity for the character and only serves to detract from the overall quality. Both E and Turtle, usually so good, seem sidelined throughout the entire run with very little to do.

The major salvation of the eight episode run is without a doubt Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold –he blows anyone off the screen when he’s on; the only real exception is his assistant Lloyd played by Rex Lee – he alone comes close to matching him. Ari is a desperate man, determined to regain his halcyon days of being a hard nosed asshole of an agent – in one scene, he’s seen to lament to a therapist that he doesn’t want to evolve and wants to go back to being himself. Given the chance to try and sneak his client back, Ari risks even divine wrath by working on Yom Kippur – although for once, we actually see a man who’s conflicted by his morals and duty to Hollywood cause.

Cameos are limited in the run – Ed Burns, Pauly Shore and Michael Lerner make brief showings; Brett Ratner is given the chance to look an idiot after inadvertently casting Dillon’s Drama in Rush Hour 3; Carla Gugino does well and is the perfect foil to Piven’s Ari but she’s soon dismissed when she gives in to the sexual tension between Vince and herself (which is a real shame).

While it still blows away any other comedies on TV right now, Entourage is facing a bit of a dilemma and needs to up its game if it’s to return to its former glory days. If it doesn’t, it runs the risk of being remembered as a show which burned too brightly and too briefly.

THREE entertaining commentaries supplement the short run of episodes in this third season add-on, as does an obligatory behind-the-scenes featurette focusing on, as in previous DVD packagings of Entourage, the making of a single episode (here, the season finale). A meatier inclusion is a Museum of Television & Radio panel discussion with the cast and crew (chaired by Elvis Mitchell) – a lenghty Q&A seen before on the likes of Carnivale DVD releases.

See also:
» Entourage: The Complete First and Second Season
» Entourage: Season 3, Part 1