Art & Entertainment

'Players' On Netflix Movie Review: Gina Rodriguez's Raunchy Rom-Com Is A Quirky Take On Relationships And Casual Flings

Outlook Rating:
3 / 5

Netflix is here with its latest film around love and friendships on Valentine's Day. Is 'Players' really worth your while? Is it like a classic rom-com? Or can you go without watching it? Read on to find out.


'Players' Photo: Netflix

Romantic comedies have always had a unique stance in the film industry, where even though the conventions may seem repetitive, the promise of a happy ending remains constant. Such is the case with ‘Players.’ Netflix dropped this multi-starrer, light-hearted film on Valentine’s Day, which explores love and camaraderie. But, if you are a die-hard rom-com fan, you will know the end from the start. So, here’s what ‘Players’ is all about.

‘Players’: Story

Mackenzie, rather Mack (Gina Rodriguez), is a 33-year-old local sports journalist, who passes her evenings by concocting hookup strategies with her group of friends, who are all guys: Adam (Damon Wayans Jr.), a writer covering local politics; Brannagan (Augustus Pew), an obituary writer; and Brannagan’s younger brother (Joel Courtney). Together, the quartet follows an intricate and unspoken playbook to assist each other in meeting people at bars, which explains the title of the film. Over the course of time, the quarter becomes a quintet, with the addition of Ashley (Liza Koshy). As Mack encounters, more like gets star-struck by Nick (Tom Ellis), a world renowned war correspondent, she faces the dilemma of choosing between casual flings or pursuing a more meaningful relationship.


‘Players’: Performances

Gina Rodriguez is the star of the film; literally, the entire narrative revolves around her. The ‘Jane the Virgin’ actress has effortlessly embodied the role of a romantic lead, possessing a sweet yet subtle smile, boundless energy, and a naturally lively presence that perfectly resembles what most people in their late 20s might be going through. She’s very likable, whilst bringing emotional authenticity to her character of Mack. Be it a friend, a partner, or a daughter, she stuck to her character.

While the rest of the cast was in supporting roles, they really were out there, pushing the storyline forward, delivering commendable performances, despite having very few individual scenes. Be it Damon Wayans Jr. hitting his witty lines on-the-spot or Tom Ellis using his charm (as always), their characters really get to you. The other three (Pew, Courtney, Koshy) are just there, existing. They collectively give the film a comedic aspect, while also serving as a reminder of what kind of supportive friends you should have.


The standout feature of ‘Players’ lies in the rhythm and camaraderie among the main characters, who pull each others’ leg, make lots of vulgar jokes, but also support each other. But, it’s the genuineness of the actors that can make this movie relatable to viewers who have long-standing friend circles.

‘Players’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

You know what they say: if you watch rom-coms, you will know the ending already, but it’s how you get to the end that matters. ‘Players’ holds greater substance compared to many other movies Netflix has released over the past few months in this genre. It doesn’t require extensive exposition; the narrative, penned by Whit Anderson, gradually reveals itself as the plot progresses, more often than not also becoming predictable. But there are certain nuances and anecdotes that are carried forward from start to end, which was, thankfully, not left loose-ended. Though the film did have a few drawbacks like romanticizing how a news agency works, or what these ‘plays’ really are and how they all started, the bitter-sweet ending of the film made up for some parts of it. While Mack had the ‘main character energy,’ I would have really loved for the movie to have focused more on her back story.

Although the film may not reach remarkable heights, Trish Sie’s direction infuses it with moments of her distinct storytelling style, as evident with her previous work on ‘Pitch Perfect 3.’ The concept of ‘Players’ is pretty fresh, though I believe the execution could have been better. The camera work by Matthew Clark was also decent, at best. It features all the shot choices commonly found in the genre, capturing the characters’ interactions and scenic backgrounds in a straightforward manner, with nothing fancy. Perhaps, what stood out the most was that it was filmed in real locations, and places a common man visits, which helped it have whatever impact it did.


The editing, by Kathryn Himoff, felt a bit abrupt at times. It seemed that, to maintain a crisp runtime for OTT, certain side stories were overlooked. A few scenes, here and there, had quick cuts, and even had some unconventional pacing. But I loved the beginning of the film: the transition from the animated introductions of the cast and crew to a glass of drink — peak rom-com touch! Coming to the musical composition, the film has used various songs that range all genres. Even some rhythmic beats put in by Jeff Cardoni, have been able to skillfully immerse one into various scenes.


‘Players’: Cast & Crew

Director: Trish Sie

Cast: Gina Rodriguez, Damon Wayans Jr., Tom Ellis, Joel Courtney, Augustus Prew, Liza Koshy, Ego Nwodim, Marin Hinkle

Available On: Netflix

Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes

Premiere Date: February 14, 2024

Genre: Romantic, Comedy

Language: English

‘Players’: Can Kids Watch It?


Outlook’s Verdict

Films like ‘Players’ become a one-time watch due to their ability to showcase the idiosyncrasies of everyday life — the quirky inconveniences that characters face, which, if not entirely relatable, can come across as something one might manifest for themselves. But since the target audience of the movie seems to be early adults, it can serve as a very-well example of what one should NOT do in trying to find a partner. While the movie may not hit the right notes at some points, it is an attempt to be something the audience can relate to. Overall, it is a worthwhile one-time watch, particularly for teenagers looking for an enjoyable way to spend their time in one-go.