Players Parent Guide
It's difficult to root for a relationship involving such an unpleasant character.
Parent Movie Review
Mack (Gina Rodriguez) and her group of friends are notorious for their carefully designed “plays” that help each other score hookups. The buddies agree that these plays are just for one-night stands, not for building relationships, since they almost always involve some level of deceit. Unfortunately for Mack, she starts to develop feelings for one of her hookups, Nick (Tom Ellis) so she decides to change the game so she can move from one night stand to girlfriend.
As someone who has seen many a rom-com, I successfully guessed who Mack would end up with within the first two minutes of the movie, and fully predicted the plot outline within the first ten. Lest you think that was impressive, I fully believe that most people, and probably some intelligent dogs, could do the same. Aside from some gender swapping, the writers follow the tried-and-true conventions of the genre, making for a predictable ride.
That said, the story does have some good things to say, perhaps more than I expected. The main theme of the movie is being yourself and finding someone who knows and loves you for it. Mack is so focused on getting Nick to be her boyfriend that she completely changes herself, so the person he’s falling for doesn’t actually exist. She realizes that getting a boyfriend is not as important as building a relationship, which is a very healthy message, especially for young women. The film also emphasizes the importance of honesty and trust in relationships and demonstrates how dishonesty quickly corrodes even the most promising of relationships.
While I appreciate where the story tries to go, I think it hits some bumps getting there. Mack is an unlikable character, and not even Gina Rodriguez’s charm is enough to make her a person you want to root for. She makes so many terrible choices, especially for a character who’s supposed to be well into adulthood, that I just found her frustrating. The film would benefit from less “Mack-time” and more time with her comic-relief friends, who are actually entertaining. Brannagan (Augustus Prew) and Little (Joel Courtney) have one of the most realistic brother relationships I’ve ever seen on screen and were far and away my favorite part of the film.
Although I appreciate the overall message, I found Players a frustrating movie to get through, as it struggles to find its footing with an unlikeable protagonist. Not helping its case is its high volume of negative content. There is a whole lot of swearing, social drinking, not to mention the casual sex at the root of the plot. I imagine that only the most devoted of genre fans (with no qualms around the aforementioned content concerns) are going to have a fun time with this. For everyone else, Players strikes out.Directed by Trish Sie. Starring Tom Ellis, Gina Rodriguez, Joel Courtney. Running time: 105 minutes. Theatrical release February 14, 2024. Updated February 13, 2024
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Rating & Content Info
Why is Players rated TV-MA? Players is rated TV-MA by the MPAA for language and smoking
Sexual Content: Adult couples kiss and undress to their underwear; sex is implied but not shown. A woman’s facial expressions are shown as a man kisses down her body and out of frame. Adult characters discuss sex and hookups in some detail. There is sexual innuendo throughout the film.
Profanity: The script contains approximately 20 sexual expletives, 40 mild and moderate profanities, and over 20 uses of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters drink alcohol frequently, often in bars. A woman pretends to be drunk. An adult smokes a cigarette.
Page last updated February 13, 2024
Players Parents' Guide
How does Mack approach relationships and how does that affect the outcome? What does Mack learn about herself and about having meaningful relationships.
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The theme of deceit or pretense recurs frequently in romantic films. He’s All Thattells the tale of a popular girl who accepts a bet to turn a “loser” into the Prom King. The task becomes more difficult when she develops feelings for him.
In You’ve Got Mail, a couple begin a friendship online – when the man discovers the woman’s real identity, he gets to know her in real life, without letting her in on the truth.
Both parties are living a lie in The Proposal. When a successful editor is going to be deported from the USA, she forces her assistant to fake an engagement with her so she can stay in the country.
A mix-up turns into a lie when a comatose man’s family believes that the woman who saved his life is his fiancée. The problems get more complicated when she falls for his brother in While You Were Sleeping.