‘Ballers’ Review: ‘Nothing Is Remotely New’
HBO is launching its newest TV series, which is similar to the smash hit “Entourage.” Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Ballers” already received several reviews from top critics even before its premiere date. Read on for details.
The TV show “Entourage” received worldwide acclaim which makes a film version seemed essential for fans. The hype is in perfect timing with Stephen Levinson’s new series. “Ballers” focuses on the life of former NFL linebacker Spencer Strasmore (Johnson), who pursues being a money manager for the current players. Spencer’s boss, Joe (Rob Corddry), on the other hand, loves to hang out with sports stars. However, he thinks that Spencer’s past is the only reason why the former athlete became a sports manager.
Variety’s noted TV columnist Brian Lowry thought nothing is “remotely new” in “Ballers.” Levinson’s series is even familiar with ESPN’s short-lived show “Playmakers” and “North Dallas Forty.” Lowry claimed that Levinson just substituted the characters in “Entourage” with popular and rich African-Americans. He also described that the creator just changed the setting from Los Angeles to Miami.
Meanwhile, The Playlist’s Kevin Jagernauth wrote that focusing on good-looking characters in a “high-powered industry” is now an effective “HBO formula.” He commended Johnson as the main character for being “a far more charismatic lead than Kevin Connolly, Adrien Grenier, Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara put together.” However, he is uncertain about what type of audience does “Ballers” cater to. He also could not fathom why Florida is the show’s setting, other than the fact that it could be a “convenient excuse for bikinis, beaches and babes.” He claimed that “Ballers” has a “disposable nature.”
“Everything is impeccable and shiny in ‘Ballers,’ from the custom tailored suits Ricky wears to the fancy homes and cars of the multi-millionaire players,” Jagernauth wrote.
Lastly, Sam Woolf from We Got This Covered described “Ballers” as “perfectly acceptable lifestyle porn.” He emphasized that it is merely a show focusing on “masculine fantasy.” He claimed that it is “disappointing” how the show lacks “substance.” In a positive note, like Jagernauth’s previous statement, Woolf also noticed Johnson’s “limitless charisma.”
“Ballers” premieres on Sunday, June 21, 2015, at 10:00 p.m. on HBO. It also stars John David Washington, Donovan Carter, Omar Miller, Troy Garity, Jazmyn Simon and London Brown. Executive producers are Levinson, Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Dany Garcia, Evan Reilly, Peter Berg, Rob Weiss, Denis Biggs and Julian Farino.
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