This romantic comedy is the No. 1 movie on Netflix — stream it or skip it?

Players. (L-R) Gina Rodriguez as Mack and Tom Ellis as Nick in "Players."
(Image credit: Netflix)

"Players" is one of the top new movies this week. Starring Gina Rodriguez and Tom Ellis, this Netflix romantic comedy dropped right in time for Valentine's Day and has quickly shot to the No. 1 spot on the Netflix top 10.

But if you're looking for a belated Valentine's Day romantic comedy or just need something for your next date night — heck, maybe you're like me and just like a rom-com that's heavier on the comedy than the romance — you should maybe skip this one. While the talented and attractive pairing of Rodriguez and Ellis feels like a perfect match, critics think this movie missed worse than a Jake Moody extra-point kick.

Still, critics sometimes miss the point of popcorn flicks. After all, not everything has to be the height of art, sometimes you just want a fun movie. So let's dive into what "Players" is about before seeing if critics and audiences agree that this movie is a swing and a miss (I promise the sports references will make sense). 

What is 'Players' about?  

"Players" stars Rodriguez as New York City sports reporter Mack. Mack typically likes to go out to bars with her typically goes out after work with her friends (Damon Wayans Jr., Liza Koshy, Augustus Prew and Joel Courtney) and run hook-up "plays" to try and score with men or women, depending on who is running the play (see, the sports references made sense!). 

But one day, Mack meets Nick (Tom Ellis), a correspondent at her paper and decides to run a play on him. Only this time, she's maybe playing for keeps, opting for a long-term relationship rather than a quick fling.

At one point in the trailer, one of her friends Adam (Wayans Jr.) calls out Mack and Nick's incompatibility despite that earlier in the movie he helped Mack run a play to get Nick, so it's unclear if this is a classic case of she's had the right guy in front of her all along of if Adam is just a genuinely concerned friend. Either way, you'll need to watch the full movie to find out. 

'Players' reviews — here’s what the critics say 

The question, of course, is should you watch the full movie to find out? According to critics, the answer is a resounding no. "Players" currently holds a 43% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If the best movies are "certified fresh," a 43% rating feels almost certified rotten. A closer look though shows a more mixed bag of reviews, with a lack of a critical consensus.

The more charitable reviews don't exactly heap praise on the film — Alissa Wilkinson of the New York Times calls it "old fashioned," and that may be one of the more positive takes. Adrain Horton of The Guardian calls it "a middling movie" in a 3-star review. But the most positive review of the movie has to be Lovia Gyarkye of The Hollywood Reporter, who praises Rodriguez's character in particular. "Mack’s character development is believable because of Rodriguez’s committed performance, which moves with ease between tears and laughter."

So if the positive reviews all seem to coalesce around the idea that this is an old-school, unimaginative but palatable romantic comedy ... that seems to be why most critics hate it. Brittany Witherspoon of Screen Rant calls the movie "about as trashy as they come" and Roger Moore of Movie Nation is frankly scathing in his critique, calling the movie "A pre-#MeToo rom-com sitcom masquerading as a feature-length comedy."

But again, is critical opinion really so important when it comes to a rom-com? As Pramit Chatterjee puts it in their (positive) review, "There’s this popular notion that nobody watches modern rom-coms for the plot or the filmmaking." So maybe, it's what audiences think that matters most when it comes to "Players."

Unfortunately, audiences hate 'Players' too — skip it

(L-R) Liza Koshy as Ashley, Augustus Prew as Brannagan, Joel Courtney as Little and Gina Rodriguez as Mack in Players.

(Image credit: K.C. Bailey/Netflix)

Unfortunately for "Players" most audience reviews seem to side with the negative critical reviews. There are only five audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes so far, but they average out to 2.1 out of 5 stars. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, especially since the best review said that "Gina Rodriguez was amazing, as always!" and yet still only gave the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars.

But my favorite audience review comes from Google. User "thegood fish" states in their review ... "Without hyperbole it is possibly the worst film I've ever seen."

Look, is this the worst film you'll ever see? As someone who recently watched "Argylle," I doubt it. But I think unless you're a glutton for trashy rom-coms (nothing wrong with that) then "Players" probably isn't for you. Feel free to skip this Netflix movie.

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.


Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.