Coming to Blu-ray this week from HBO Home Entertainment and executive producers Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson is a series that takes on sports with both hands as Dwayne Johnson stops at nothing to expand his base dealing with “Ballers.”
Spencer Strasmore (Dwayne Johnson) is back with another season as a financial manager dealing with players! Along with partner Joe Krutel (Rob Corddry), it’s all about to become even more stressful than life usually is. First, Ricky (John David Washington) questions his relationship with Amber (Brittany Hall) but TDD (Carl McDowell) notices that something isn’t quite right about him lately. Charles (Omar Miller) is dealing with a very calculating boss in Siefert (Dule Hill) and learns he needs to stand up for himself.
A meeting between Spencer and Wayne Hastings Jr. (Steve Guttenberg) finally takes place and the idea of a Vegas team is put on the table. Joe needs to remember to look in his office before he speaks when Kisan (Kris Lofton) lets him know it’s time for a new agent. He also discovers that Reggie and Vernon are promoting their business called High Powered by a symbol that just puts the NFL on the edge. Now Joe and Charles have to come together to find a way to convince Vernon that his days in the NFL are numbered if they keep up their shenanigans.
In Vegas, Spencer runs into Chloe (Serinda Swan) and sparks fly but acting on it has to cool in the desert sun for a money because he has to work his charm and magic on the Mayor of Vegas and Council people to get a thumbs up on the football team idea. Joe is still dealing with Reggie about his Colorado business venture and gets a little caught up in the well lit moment. New agent Jason (Troy Garity) discovers that Kisan hasn’t been totally forthcoming with his past.
The stress is starting to get to Spencer and Joe (even if Spencer gets some downtime with Chloe) and they continue to talk with Anderson about the potential for raising money. Anderson (Richard Schiff) isn’t thrilled when a plane trip to speak with investors turns into a stop orchestrated by his snarky brother Julian (Steven Weber) There are serious family issues between the two that put Spencer and Joe in a weird place.
Ricky goes to see Charles wife Julie (Jazmyn Simo) for a doctor referral and it makes Charles nervous when he sees a telephone call to his wife. She informs him that she can’t talk about it and suggests he focus on what is going on with the team. Siefert is still making things difficult so after an unsuccessful dinner between Siefert and head coach Berg (Peter Berg), Charles decides its time to take his life into his own hands.
Deciding what he wants for his life, Ricky tries to fix the things that are wrong and live his life honestly — and Jason is about to pass out when he learns his clients secret. Things with Spencer and Chloe heat up and it gets him to thinking about what he wants for his life but Chloe sets him straight immediately.
As the deal for a team in Vegas begins to take shape, Anderson, Spencer and Joe need to have a meeting with the NFL, who isn’t really happy that all of this even began without their approval, only to discover there is another offer on the table and that the balance of power is shifting. While in San Francisco, Spencer meets someone who makes him rethink how things have been handled with the business and his idea for a Vegas team.
The players aren’t the only ones that can be headstrong ballers!
Johnson as Spencer once again turns on the charm and the intensity this season trying to break into a world of the NFL by bringing a team to Las Vegas. Cutting corners he immediately has a target on his back and no one is going to make it easy for him, in fact, every time he thinks it is all going in the right direction, he’s thrown a curve ball. What I enjoy about this character is that even when things are in panic mode, Spencer takes a deep breath and reaches up to pluck the next big move out of nowhere. In the midst of the chaos, there are moments of comedy and even a bit of drool for the ladies as there is no question that Johnson is ripped and endearing. Yes, it’s just fun to love the guy!
Corddry as Joe is equally as fast on his feet when chaos shows up but Joe handles things in such a unique and crazy way that when he has moments of brilliance it is actually quite stunning. The scene after Spencer and Joe had to literally run to a meeting with Hastings; it is Joe who gives a quick save that made my jaw drop thinking ‘wow where did that come from?’ I do enjoy Corddry because I never know what character he is going to play next and yet never surprised by his performances.
Washington as Ricky takes on several issues this season with a strong-willed woman, reexamining his life and dealing with family. McDowell as TDD is keeping his eye on Ricky and questioning whether he realizes the extent of what is going on in his life and ice cream is very important to him. Lofton as Kisan is introduced to his new agent but has trouble keeping secrets that could affect any deal going forward. Garity as agent Jason starts out being taken advantage of and moves on to dealing with the screwed up personal lives of players.
Miller as Charles is finding his place in the NFL. Not realizing what it takes to be part of the head office, he also never realized that the game isn’t only on the field. This season he finds his voice and discovers what it is he wants from his post-NFL career. Simo as wife Julie wants her husband to succeed and is a serious cheerleader for her husband. Simo is strong, sweet and lets it be known that whatever her husband wants is something she supports feeling that he does the same for her. Dule as Siefert has no problem grabbing the limelight for decisions that help teams and equally grabbing credit for things he didn’t do which is what causes the rift between him and Charles.
Schiff as Anderson wants to do whatever it takes to make the Las Vegas team idea a reality, well almost anything it takes. When brother Julian, played by Weber, comes into the mix it becomes more personal than business. Getting the issues out of the way is the only way any plans will be successful. Schiff and Weber as brothers is something to see to the very last scene together. Swan as Chloe works with Hastings Jr. and has a relationship with Spencer and that proves to be a little strange for them both. Swan is lovely in a character that doesn’t change her life for Spencer and makes it clear that she knows exactly who he is and what he’s about yet still likes hanging with him.
A serious shout out to Steve Guttenberg for showing that he can play a douchebag rich guy. I swear every time he was on screen he cracked me up with his attempt at being suave and then becoming steely-eyed when facing Steven. What a great character! Another shout goes to Stephen Weber for being a brother who doesn’t mind making his older brother absolutely uncomfortable and why? – well because it’s a brother thing! Yet when it comes down to it they are family.
“Ballers” has cameo appearances by Larry Csonka, Travis Scott, Steve Guttenberg, Cheryl Ladd, Peter Berg, Dule Hill, Anabella Acosta, LeToya Luckett, Ella Thomas, Antoine Harris, Taylour Paige, Sanai Johnson, Richard Schiff, Clifton Collins Jr., Angelina Assereto, Christine Allocca, Carl McDowell, Terrell Suggs, Jay Glazer, Serinda Swan, Andy Garcia and Steve Guttenberg and Peter Berg.
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The Blu-ray includes the episodes “Seeds of Expansion,” “Bull Rush,” “In the Teeth,” “Make Believe,” “I Hate New York,” “Ricky-Leaks,” “Alley-Oops,” “Crackback” and “Yay Area.” Also included is the digital copy that makes it great to watch anywhere on not only a television but also a computer, tablet and smartphone.
I always love watching “Ballers” because it has so much crazy to offer and it is fast-paced. Watching Johnson in this series is different than films because most of the movies show a character that is larger than life in larger than life situations like the remake “Jumanji” and “Rampage. In “Ballers,” the character of Spencer is totally believable in a Jerry McGuire sort of way but on a much cooler scale. I love how he interacts with the other characters and with Corddry as his sidekick — it totally works.
This series can easily be seen as a “guys” series, but those who think that would be totally wrong. Although I enjoy an occasional football game or any sport for that matter, I’m not an avid sports fan, yet “Ballers” is enjoyable to watch and I do look forward to each episode. The character interaction and stories, along with the show’s running time of 30 minutes invites the viewers into the mad world of Spencer and Joe and never leaves us unsatisfied.
I’m letting you know now that the finale left me cheering because the good guys can win on their own terms!
In the end — if you build it they will come!