Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024
Players Netflix Review, Cover

I remember being pretty excited for Players when it was first announced, as I knew both Tom Ellis and Damon Wayans Jr. from different projects, and was a fan of their work. Last night, I finally had a chance to sit down and watch a movie, so I figured Players might be a good option. A quick Google search revealed a pretty dismal Rotten Tomatoes score (43%), but I like to make my own mind up. The trailer itself seemed pretty fun, so I went ahead and put the movie on anyway. And within 30 minutes I knew I had to write a Players Netflix review because I had thoughts.

This review will be spoiler-free, so if you’re on the fence about watching, you can read this without ruining the movie for yourself. And as with any review, these are my thoughts and opinions, and everyone has different preferences. I try to explain why I come to the conclusions I do, that way you can decide how much you care about each point I make. Also, you can watch the trailer below to get a feel for the general vibe.

The Good

I’d never seen Gina Rodriguez in anything before, but she absolutely knocked it out of the park with her portrayal of Mack. She was funny, charismatic, but also vulnerable, and her acting skills really shone through. Overall, the acting performances were pretty strong across the board, but Gina was definitely the standout. I felt like I could really connect to her character, and I’d love to see more of her in future projects.

The soundtrack was also brilliant, and I honestly believe it was this movie’s saving grace. The upbeat tunes helped hide what was sometimes a very dull storyline, and it kept me engaged from one scene to the next. I think Netflix’s Players is a perfect example of why the soundtrack to a movie is so important. I think with different song choices, I’d be giving this movie a much lower rating.

Although the main relationship in Players did nothing for me (more on that later), I did feel invested in the dynamic between two of the supporting characters. Ashley and Little looked super cute together on screen, and watching the two play off of each other was a delight. I think I’d actually have liked the movie a lot more if they had even more of a focus.

Players Netflix review, Mack on a bike
Just look at this winning smile, Gina Rodriguez is adorable as Mack.

The Bad

So, watching the trailer I immediately guessed what I thought the plot would be, but I was hoping the actual movie would subvert expectations. Nope. The movie was just a longer version of the trailer with nothing I didn’t see coming. I really hate the current trend of trailers basically spoiling the entire movie, but at least most films leave a little to the imagination. Players would’ve been pretty predictable anyway, but with the trailer, it was practically by-the-book.

As much as it pains me to say it, Tom Ellis was one of the weaker parts of this film. I don’t think it’s necessarily his fault, he just wasn’t given much to work with. His character (Nick) was entirely devoid of personality, and Nick’s lack of chemistry with Mack was palpable from the get-go. When the entire premise of the movie is Mack chasing Nick because she caught feelings from day one, you need there to be some form of a connection, which there just wasn’t.

Having said that, despite being a boring character, Nick is not a bad guy. The directing choices clearly wanted the audience to root for Mack and favour her in any disagreements between her and Nick, but for the most part, he didn’t really do anything wrong. Basically all of the issues that cropped up were just a lack of compatibility coupled with the fact that they’d only been together a very short time compared to the length of time she’d pined after him. I’m not going to fault a guy for prioritising his own interests.

On a cute date
They look so cute together, but that sadly doesn’t translate into chemistry in their interactions.

The Ugly

The part of this film that’s almost impossible to ignore is the fact that the main characters are awful people. They hide it well by being charismatic and lovable, but their entire dynamic is that they’re players. They run ‘plays’ against unsuspecting victims to try and get their friends laid. It’s not okay, it’s just straight lying, and I would argue that their targets can’t give informed consent when they’ve been so diabolically manipulated.

As for Mack’s pursuit of Nick, that’s 100% just stalking. It’s total psycho behaviour, and even though it’s framed to the audience as funny and even romantic, it’s incredibly toxic. If the genders were reversed, I don’t think this premise would’ve made it off the floor. Her friends literally follow him around on a daily basis. She spends days creating a dossier of information on him. She tracks events he’ll be attending so she can go too. They even sabotage any attempts he makes at other relationships. It’s creepy and it means I can’t in good conscience like any of them.

I wouldn’t mind all of that were it not for the directing choices made surrounding it. Take It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, for example. Everyone on that show is a scumbag, but the narrative leans into that. You’re not supposed to like them, you’re just supposed to find entertainment in them. But with Players, the movie is framed in a way that it wants you to like and even relate to Mack. She’s fun to watch and I like her as a character, but she doesn’t deserve a happy ending. None of them do. I think Players would be better if it leaned more into the fact that they all kinda suck.

Players Netflix Review, making a play
These co-dependent enablers need therapy!

Verdict

Overall, this movie is pretty much the definition of ‘mid’. It’s not bad, and I don’t regret watching it. Under the right circumstances, I’d probably even watch it again. But it certainly didn’t live up to my expectations, and there are much better rom-coms out there. Speaking of the ‘com’ part, the comedy was very hit and miss. Sometimes it was genuinely funny, but a lot of the time it tried waaaay too hard. The character Brannagan was the main culprit here. He was clearly intended as the comic relief, but the actor overcompensated. I did find him funny at certain moments, but a lot of the time I was thinking “really?”. It was more of a writing issue than an acting issue, though.

I hope this Players Netflix review has been useful for you. Would I recommend it? No. Would I recommend against it? Also no. If you’ve watched all the other decent rom-coms available then this will do to kill some time. But if you’ve got other options, watch something better like Plus One.

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6 / 10

Pros

  • Great soundtrack that makes you feel upbeat and engaged.
  • Strong acting performances, particularly by Gina Rodriguez.
  • Lighthearted and fun, makes for easy viewing.

Cons

  • Predictable plot that was obvious from just the trailer.
  • Main characters that were hard to root for.
  • The comedy tried too hard at times.
  • Lack of romantic chemistry between the characters.

By Screen Hype

Hi! I'm Melika Jeddi, a content writer and aspiring author. I've created Screen Hype to share my unique brand of entertaining articles with the world, and to create a fun space that everyone can feel a part of :)