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Eastbound & Down: Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] [US Import]
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Danny McBride's Kenny Powers, the man with the magnificent mullet, returns for a second round of his politically incorrect HBO series. When his Tampa plans fall through, the baseball player-turned-gym teacher spends the next seven episodes killing time in Mexico (the shoot takes place in Puerto Rico). After his sidekick, Aaron (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's Deep Roy), gives him the boot, he decides to get back in the game, so he joins a local team just as his biggest fan, Stevie (Steve Little), arrives in order to serve as his assistant. Stevie also breaks the news that Kenny's ex-girlfriend is off the market.
Fortunately, Vida (Ana de la Reguera), a shapely nightclub singer, helps Kenny to forget his past, though she finds the team owner (Michael Peña) equally enticing. Unfortunately, Kenny's bad attitude threatens his relationship, his job, and even his friendship with the puppy dog-like Stevie. Just when his antics can't get more tiresome, Kenny reconnects with a long-lost relative (Don Johnson with scraggly extensions), who inspires him to stop running from his problems and face them head on. Then, when he makes peace with a former enemy (Adam Scott) and a major-league scout (Matthew McConaughey), it appears as if his fortunes are about to turn.
As with the first season, producers Jody Hill and David Gordon Green handle directorial duties and play to writer-creator McBride's strengths, but the coke-snorting egotist won't be to all tastes. Like the fictional Larry David of Curb Your Enthusiasm--or real-life pitcher John Rocker--he's an equal-opportunity offender, but in a cruder context. And set to a hipper soundtrack, something that also distinguishes the feature-film work of Hill and Green. Oscar nominee John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), who plays Kenny's level-headed brother, makes a repeat appearance for the surprisingly sentimental finale. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
HBO® premieres the second season of its outrageous, irreverent half-hour, hit comedy series about an arrogant, burned-out, former major-league pitcher named Kenny Powers (Danny McBride), In Season 2, Kenny will take up residence in a small Mexican town; there, joined by his lackey Stevie Janowski and a new love interest, Vida, he'll fashion a comeback scenario that involves a local baseball team, the Charros, and its filthy-rich owner, Sebastian Cisneros.
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Most of the show is a sort of verbal slapstick with the acting being deliberately melodramatic. The Kenny Powers character can surely never be beaten for outrageous behaviour. He has simply no concept of how ridiculous he is or how self-absorbed he's being. The whole world revolves around Kenny and owes him everything because of his amazing talent. A small child in other words.
It is mostly mildly amusing with a few good belly-laughs which for me mainly centred around a fabulously foul-mouthed but stature-challenged amateur gangster who is always threatening people with serious bodily harm whilst brandishing a very small penknife.
It plays very much to the same formula as the first season, in that Kenny pretty much charges his way through each event life throws at him thinking he is the superior being but it's still very compelling to watch and still very very funny. It's definitely as strong as the first season and you may actually sympathise with Kenny more in this season, just be prepared to laugh at things you shouldn't be laughing at.
For its second season, Eastbound and Down abandons most of the previously-established cast and setting and heads south of the border. Here it's business as usual, as Powers attempts to get himself back to fame and glory but constantly sabotages his prospects with his crass humour, narcissism and total lack of concern for other human beings.
The first season of Eastbound was a success due to the premise and many of the individual gags and ideas being quite funny, with some genuinely solid character development taking place under the avalanche of fairly low-brow humour. The second season at first looks like it's going to continue this trend, with the show's embracing of a new setting (and culture) being a fairly brave move. It would have been easier to have stayed in Shelby and simply churned out six more episodes of the same. However, by a few episodes into this second season, it does feel like the move to Mexico was pointless. The show doesn't make much of its setting (beyond a few lazy gags, though nothing too offensive; HBO has a lot of Mexican viewers) and the structure of the second season is pretty much a retread of the first.
Once again, Kenny is responsible for many of his own problems but, having apparently learned nothing from the events of the first season, enjoys much less of the viewer's sympathy this time around. Again, he is surrounded by friends and allies who want him to succeed, but his constant poor treatment of them and failure to make the most of the good opportunities that come his way makes you wonder why they bother. Crucially, the show is simply not as funny as the first season. Smile-inducing gags are rare, whilst genuine laugh-out loud moments are extremely few and far between.
As before, Danny McBride is watchable and is able to make the viewer cringe in horror at his antics, but is less sympathetic this time around. Most of the cast, new and recurring alike, do good work with limited material, with Don Johnson being particularly amusing in his ability to dish out really terrible advice and make it sound plausible. Efren Ramirez is terribly under-used as Kenny's new neighbour, unfortunately, and oddly the double-act of Deep Roy and Joaquin Cosio, initially established as recurring enemies, disappear quite quickly despite their great comic potential.
This latter issue probably best sums up Eastbound and Down's second season (**½): a great deal of potential, but little of it fulfilled. If you were a huge fan of the first season, there's enough here to just about scrape by, but otherwise a disappointment. The show is available now in the UK (DVD, Blu-Ray) and the USA (DVD, Blu-Ray).
This was a beautiful season, different to season 1 but wonderful in its own right. Despite the language barrier Kenny manage to offend and showboat in a truly crass way and meet a whole load of hysterical new characters, and it seemed like the writers just hit every note perfectly. On the way Kenny learns a few lessons in humility and remorse and Stevey learns to be a man. I almost fell off my sofa laughing at every episode. The season ended beautifully with a wonderful song by Kurt Vile.
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