ENTOURAGE THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON
HBO / 2009 / 326 min. / TV-MA
Occasionally tripped up by its own triviality, ENTOURAGE has nevertheless provided viewers a consistently entertaining ride as it goes into its seventh season. Anyone looking for a little meat on the show's trifling bones might get a bit frustrated cruising along with the Hollywood exploits of movie star Vincent Chase ( Adrian Grenier) and his hometown buddies. But ENTOURAGE is at its most breezily watchable when the relatively uninteresting celebrity at its center recedes into the background and the lively cast of regulars and guest actors (some playing themselves) takes center stage.
Foremost among them is Jeremy Piven's Emmy-winning portrayal of Vince's foul-mouthed uber-agent, Ari Gold. Though the character is completely over the top, that's just where Ari should be. Over ENTOURAGE's six seasons, the writers and Piven have allowed us to glimpse the multiple facets of Ari's character without ever losing the brio and bluster that make him a TV icon. Some of the best moments of season six involve Ari's dealings with Andrew Klein ( Gary Cole), an old friend toiling at a second-tier agency in the Valley whom Ari brings into the Beverly Hills fold. There is also a terrific storyline when Ari's long-suffering assistant, Lloyd ( Rex Lee), decides he's taken enough abuse and quits.
Stretching his wings more than any of the other regulars in season six is Jerry Ferrara's Turtle. All-around go-fer for Vince in previous seasons, Turtle enrolls in college and gets into a serious relationship with Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow of THE SOPRANOS, playing herself here). Winning the heart of the coveted actress was a nice character turn for the perennial stoner, and Ferrara and Sigler found some touching moments, making the most of their parts.
Meanwhile, the season saw Vince's best friend and manager, Eric ( Kevin Connolly) stumble when he tries to strike out professionally on his own. But Eric gets recruited into a management firm by its big shot owner, played by the venerable George Siegel. "E" also swung romantically between L.A. waif, Ashley ( Alexis Dziena) and the true love of his life, Sloan ( Emmanuelle Chriqui).
The fourth wheel on the ENTOURAGE bus, Vince's half-brother and struggling actor, Johnny Drama ( Kevin Dillon), starts out the season with a role on a second-rate TV series and winds up seriously considering abandoning the business he loves. Dillon's comedic prowess is another of ENTOURAGE's strongest assets.
Though it felt like Season Six involved a fair amount of wheel-spinning when it dealt with the central storyline of Vince's career, ENTOURAGE remains a fun, enjoyable show with an engaging cast. Even if you're not a regular watcher, it's one of those series you can dive right into and get caught up fast.
The 16x9 image is fine, though nothing that'll knock your socks off.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is lively and well-balanced. It gets the job done.
Round-ups of the first five seasons will help anyone not familiar with the series or those fans who want a reminder.
Three of the twelve episodes contain commentary tracks with creator/executive producer Doug Ellin, executive producer Ally Musika and actors Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Adrian Grenier and guest actor Bob Saget. The banter is fun and witty and provides some interesting background insights.
"Life at the Top" is a traditional making-of doc featuring interviews with cast and crew.
"A Day at the Speedway" is a 4-minute short looking at the shooting of one of the most indulgent, uninteresting sequences in the whole season when the guys race Ferraris at the local race track.
"ONEXONE PSA" is the best of the extras, a comedic short with Matt Damon trying to direct Vince Chase through five lines of a Public Service Announcement.
I'm a follower of ENTOURAGE and watch it regularly during its HBO runs. It's not the most profound or groundbreaking television to be found on the channel. But its entertainment value is relatively reliable.
--Reviewed by David Newman