Players REVIEW – Decent Game

Players isn't the best Netflix rom-com, but it's alright.


Players would have been a seriously lackluster rom-com if not for the efforts of Gina Rodriguez. She is a rom-com queen – anyone who has seen Jane the Virgin or Someone Great would know this. She manages to deliver a committed and poignant performance, and brings real depth to her character Mack.

Mack, Adam (Damon Wayans Jr.), Brannagan (Augustus Prew) and Little (Joel Courtney) are a group of players. They have dating plays they work together as a group, so they can score in the bedroom. It isn’t the best set-up, since it makes this group of people look manipulative and unlikeable from the get-go. I mean at one point Mack is staging a whole scene in her apartment just so she can hook up with her neighbour. There’s not much sense as to why they look at relationships like this – as short-term hook-ups that lead to pleasure and not much commitment. The good news is that the movie manages to redeem itself once the second half kicks in.

Mack is initially okay with these short-term flings, but after she hooks up with Nick (Tom Ellis), who’s like a total catch but now discounts her because he’s slept with her, she starts to rethink her whole stand on relationships. She decides that she wants a proper second chance with Nick, and recruits the gang to help her play for keeps. Once again, the whole situation is a bit dodgy, since they basically start stalking Nick to find out all his likes and hangouts. But the cast do have good chemistry together, and it’s kind of funny to watch them run recon like a bunch of spies, as well as make pie charts and graphs about Nick.

Mack wants Nick because he looks good on paper. He’s a renowned journalist, good looking and just a proper adult – seemingly the perfect man to desire a relationship with. She’s so focused on scoring him that she never really asks herself what she likes about him besides these on-paper desirable qualities. That’s actually a pretty relatable storyline. I think when it comes to considering what we want in a partner, a lot of times we look at the image as opposed to the person, and it can take a while before we realise that this isn’t exactly what we want.

Mack’s not only adrift in her personal life, she’s the same in her professional life as well. She’s been drifting in her job as a local sports reporter for years, and even though she wants to transition to cover the major sporting events, she lacks confidence in herself. Like I said, Rodriguez is really good here, and she has decent chemistry with both Ellis and Wayans Jr. Mack and Adam’s relationship is genuine and adorable, and even when they are with other people, their history and support for each other still comes through. Nick also feels like a very true-to-life type of character, people who are so accomplished but also a little too into themselves.

Players on the whole does feel like a bit of a throwback to rom-coms in the 2000s – run-of-the-mill but with an emotional core that allows you to care about some of the characters. It’s a fun watch, and not a bad way to spend a few hours.

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Gina Rodriguez saves Players from being one of those Netflix rom-coms that you should just avoid. Her charisma livens up the screen, and her performance actually brings much-needed pathos to the film.