Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Lower East Side and How To Make It In America

about the video from speakeasy
If the basic plot of HBO’s new comedy series “How To Make It in America” seems a bit slight — two friends hustle to create a denim line and sell $700 jeans — it nevertheless feels accurate. The show is set in downtown Manhattan neighborhoods like the Lower East Side, where sneakers are displayed on fashion boutique shelves as if they were sculpture. The series, which premieres tomorrow night, is being described as an “Entourage East,” but that’s not quite right. Stripped of the power plays and financial high-stakes of the movie industry, “How To Make It” is more like a fun romp through the youth culture; “Entourage” if Vince and the gang only went to cool parties and girl-chased and didn’t have to worry about “Aquaman’s” opening-weekend gross.
The concerns here are of a smaller sort: whether or not Ben (Bryan Greenberg) and Cam (Victor Rasuk) can scrape up the cash to buy black market selvage denim; how Ben will deal now that his ex-girlfriend (Lake Bell) is dating a rich hotelier. But the characters and setting are so winning that you’re happy to let “How To Make It” glide along like an all-night loft party. To the extent that the show has gravitas, it comes from the presence of Luis Guzman as a loan-shark cousin to Cam and the tri-state distributor of a Jamaican-inspired energy drink, Rasta Monsta. Considering we can still recite Guzman’s lines in “Carlito’s Way,” it’s great to see him back in New York, at least on screen. Speakeasy talked with Guzman and series executive producer Ian Edelman.

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