A sort of Entourage before the guys got an entourage, How to Make It in America is an ingratiating shaggy-dog half hour. It follows a couple of struggling young Manhattan guys, Ben (One Tree Hill's Bryan Greenberg) and Cam (Lords of Dogtown's Victor Rasuk), and their buddies (including rapper Scott ''Kid Cudi'' Mescudi as Domingo) as they try to hustle their way to wealth. Ben folds jeans in a Barneys but wants to run his own denim empire or any empire that'll help him win back the girl of his dreams (Boston Legal's Lake Bell).
With a strong assist from Luis Guzman as Cam's loan-shark cousin, Make It doesn't have a lotta laughs, but it's got charm and a feel for the atmosphere of downtown art galleries, parties, and business hustling. Producers include Entourage's Mark Wahlberg and Rob Weiss, but the show is no rip-off. Ben is scruffy and melancholy, but not a whiner. Many of us can relate when a former professor (guest star Griffin Dunne) tells Ben he's got promise ''but your follow-through wasn't there.''
Like other new HBO efforts such as Hung and Bored to Death, it takes a few episodes for this series to find its rhythm. A lot of movies and TV shows have tried to depict the post-slacker generation with energy; How to Make It in America may be one that succeeds. B