By Patrick Tedder
If you like bro-shows, Entourage, and (insert your favorite subject here), then guess what—Ballers is a good time for you.
Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson plays Spencer Strasmore (nice alliteration HBO), a retired football player who helps bring on big clients for a financial management firm. He’s accompanied by Joe Krutel, played by Rob Corddry. Joe is the clown whereas Spencer is the cool straight man. Together they get into crazy brotastic antics all while chasing that dolla.
The rest of the characters certainly help fill in the show when Rock and Rob aren’t on screen, but not intending any disrespect, I’m not sure any of them are wildly memorable.
There’s John David Washington (son of a Mr. Denzel) as Ricky Jerret – the fast talking and hard partying football player who can’t keep his dick in his pants. Omar Benson Miller is an affectionate and likeable Charles Greane, a football player trying to figure out what to do next with his life outside of the NFL. Lastly, Donovan W. Carter as Vernon Littlefield is the big fish that the majority of the first season’s plot revolves around.
Why does everyone, minus Rock and Rob, seem to get lost in the shuffle? Well, they’re characters that feel like tools for the plot rather than integrated parts of it. The drivers of the action are The Rock and, whenever the show needs to switch things up, his comedic buddy. No one else gets nearly as much screen time.
Does it all sound a little vapid? It’s because it kind of is. Not to overly simplify, but every episode – a quick 30 minutes, roadblock pops up, but you’ll never have your buzz harshed too badly since it’s all one big party. Frequently, gorgeous women, fast cars, tight fashion, and beautiful LA locals will be featured to keep the party going. SPOILER SENTENCE: This concept plays into the conclusion of season one as well. Again, if you’ve seen Entourage, you kind of know the formula for how things turn out. Something that could be fun and yet maddening about every single season of Entourage.
Still, if you’re willing to kick back and relax, the show can be fun. I enjoy football, and The Rock is charismatic as hell. Honestly, he is the hottest actor in showbiz right now. He may not have the acting pedigree, but he’s this generation’s Sly or Ahnold! He is a brand and has no signs of fizzling out.
You don’t have to think too much with this one, but that’s fine. It’s glam and glitz and sex and pop. It has its place, and as far as Season 1 goes, Ballers is the toast of the party.