Not Ballers

"Ballers." Why does it suck? I'm not sure. Maybe it's the writing. Maybe it's the casting. Maybe it's that The Rock doesn't seem sure how to be anything other than a cartoon. Force him to act like a worried money manager for athletes, stick him in too tight suit pants, make him talk finance, and he gets lost in translation. The biggest problem "Ballers" has isn't ballers. It has plenty of those. A crew of athletes in the various stages of their wound up careers: climbing, struggling, out of it. The biggest problem is that there isn't anything counterintuitive about it. It's all a series of grand cliches. The great hub upon which "The Sopranos" spun was that it was about a mobster who was seeing a shrink. What the fuck is up with that? it made you wonder. Watching "Ballers" is like watching the dramatic version of "Hard Knocks," and, shit, we've seen that already. The closest thing to something interesting is Rob Corddry, who's a fucking freak -- but even then they've got him on too tight of a leash -- and Omar Miller's inhabituation of what happens to players after the NFL. Maybe the problem is that while all the active ball players on the show, the ones whose lives we follow as the plot meanders about confusedly, are black men, and, unless I missed something, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, not a single one of the show's executive producers is a black man. But, hey, it's Hollywood, and I guess that's how they play ball.

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