Film Critic Deeta Mahbubani reviews Players, finding it to be a worthy addition to Netflix’s romcom selection

Final Year BSc Economics and Politics student, driven by a love for writing and literature.
Images by Header image via Instagram @lizakoshy , , Body image via Instagram @hereisgina ,

In the era of reboots, remakes, and the relentless churn of sequels, it’s undoubtedly refreshing to witness a genre making a triumphant return with a fresh coat of paint. Romantic comedies, once a staple of Hollywood’s cinematic diet, had somewhat faded into obscurity on the big screen until Netflix boldly took the reins with its “Summer of Love” in 2018. Since then, the streaming giant has emerged as a reliable source for the genre, delivering a steady stream of feel-good, sometimes formulaic, but undeniably enjoyable romantic comedies right into the comfort of our homes.

Enter Players, Netflix’s latest addition to the romcom resurgence, making its debut just in time for Valentine’s Day. Starring Gina Rodriguez as the effervescent Mack, a Brooklyn-based sports journalist with a penchant for one-night stands, the film promises to weave together a delightful tapestry of love, friendship, and the perpetual quest for adulting.

At the heart of Players lies Gina Rodriguez’s potrayal of Mack, a character whose magnetic charm and relatable quirks propel the film forward. Mack embodies the archetypal “cool girl,” exuding an infectious energy, a love for sports rivalling any die-hard fan, and an unapologetic zest for life. Rodriguez breathes life into Mack with a natural charisma that makes it impossible not to root for her, whether she’s chasing down a story or trying to navigate the tumultuous waters of romance.

Rodriguez breathes life into Mack with a natural charisma that makes it impossible not to root for her

But Mack is not alone in her escapades. She is surrounded by a crew of equally endearing characters, each bringing their own unique flavour to the mix. Damon Wayans Jr. shines as Adam, Mack’s longtime friend and confidant, whose comedic timing and easy rapport with Rodriguez make their scenes together an absolute joy to watch. Adam serves as the voice of reason amidst the chaos, the friend who’s always there with a witty quip or a shoulder to lean on.

Then there’s Brannagan, played by the charismatic Augustus Prew, whose devil-may-care attitude and penchant for the dramatic add a touch of flair to the group dynamic. Joel Courtney rounds out the quartet as Little, Brannagan’s somewhat hapless brother, whose earnestness and endearing awkwardness adds a touch of sweetness to the film, grounding it in moments of genuine heart. Together, this ragtag group of friends embarks on a series of elaborate schemes and misadventures in the name of love. From stalking potential love interests to meticulously planning out “plays” to win them over, their antics provide ample fodder for laughter and heartwarming moments alike.

Director Trish Sie, known for her work on Pitch Perfect 3, brings a deft touch to the film, blending humour with heart in equal measure. The film’s Brooklyn setting is brought to life with vibrant energy, from its bustling streets to its cosy dive bars. Sie’s direction infuses the film with a sense of whimsy and charm, creating a world that feels both familiar and fantastical.

However, Players isn’t without its flaws. At times, the film veers a little too far into sitcom territory, with its exaggerated scenarios and overly elaborate plays bordering on the absurd. The reliance on these antics can feel forced, detracting from the more poignant moments that resonate with audiences.

One of the film’s more notable missteps is its handling of Mack’s character. While Rodriguez’s portrayal of Mack is undeniably charismatic, the character herself can feel a bit one-dimensional at times. Mack’s “cool girl/hot mess” persona, complete with a love for sports and a penchant for one-night stands, treads dangerously close to cliché territory.

Mack’s professional life often feels like a series of sitcom-esque misadventures

Another curious aspect of Players is its portrayal of Mack’s career as a sports journalist. While the film attempts to ground Mack’s character in a world of sports and journalism, some of the scenarios she finds herself in feel more like a caricature than a realistic depiction. From covering bizarre local sports events to navigating the complexities of office dynamics, Mack’s professional life often feels like a series of sitcom-esque misadventures.

Adding to the film’s eccentricities is the character of Brannagan. His devil-may-care attitude and penchant for the dramatic inject a healthy dose of humour and sass into the group dynamic. However, his over-the-top antics, particularly in the realm of romance, can sometimes feel more cringe-worthy than charming.

Despite these quirks and oddities, Players ultimately succeeds in delivering an enjoyable romcom experience. While the film may stumble into strange and sometimes surreal territory, its heartwarming moments and endearing characters make it a worthwhile addition to the romcom lineup. So, grab your popcorn and settle in for a romp through the wild and wacky world of Players. After all, in the world of love, laughter, and the pursuit of the perfect “play,” anything can happen.


Players is a film that revels in its predictability, embracing the genre’s familiar tropes while adding a few unexpected twists along the way. Whether you find yourself chuckling at the characters’ outlandish antics or cringing at their awkward missteps, Players offers a fun and entertaining journey through the ups and downs of love and friendship.

Rating: 8/10

Players is available on Netflix now. 

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