Did we like this?
Wow. This was snappy, funny, witty. And our American friends (Chuck, Chuck and Maureen) tell us it gets better and better (they’ve already reached series three over there). The story of hot young actor Vincent Chase – star of action thriller Head On with Jessica Alba – and his three buddies from New York is one we’ll stick with.
What was good about it?
• The best character is Eric (twinkly-eyed blonde Kevin Connolly), the moralistic friend that Vincent trusts to read scripts and make decisions – and is so unfazed by Tinseltown bullshit that he can stand-up to Vincent’s tenacious agent Ari (Jeremy Piven). It’s sensible Eric who decides Vince shouldn’t appear in Matterhorn, despite the $4 million temptation – and who looks a bit sick at that end when he hears Colin Farrell has taken the job instead.
• Adrian Grenier as Vincent. He looks sensational and plays the charming, well-rooted actor just right, mixing outward confidence with inner fears.
• Kevin Dillon as Johnny ‘Drama’ Chase, Vincent’s narcissistic older brother who gets minor acting roles (soft soap Pacific Blue rather than NYPD Blue) and will never reach stardom. Kevin is Matt’s younger brother and was probably born for this second-fiddle role.
• Jerry Ferrara as Turtle, the tubby clown, who’s not afraid to exploit Vincent’s fame as a way of getting girls who’d never normally look at him twice (“Come on, make out with me. I’ll show you where Vince eats breakfast.”) – and was the one forced to wear gridiron gear to make friends with Vincent’s ferocious new guard dog.
• The plot races along and every scene is a grabber. You needn’t care a jot about the movie business to find it absorbing.
• The best scene came when an angry Ari (he always is) confronts Eric who, 14 months earlier, was the night-shift manager of a New York pizza parlour. He needs Eric to persuade Vincent to take the role in Matterhorn. “I don’t have business with people like you,” yells Ari. “I don’t do this! Do you think Hugh Jackman calls and says, ‘Hey, Ari, love the script. Gotta run it past the pizza boy’?”
• The star-spotting opportunities. Mark Wahlberg, who is the series’ executive producer, has a cameo in the pilot; later episodes feature director James Cameron, Scarlett Johansson, Brooke Shields, Bono and Jessica Alba.
What was bad about it?
• Joe Walsh’s Rocky Mountain Way was faded from the soundtrack far too quickly.
• It relies too much on Hollywood when the best moments come when the old gang are together, away from the spotlights, paparazzi and never-ending supply of blonde women.