Players (dir. Trish Sie)

By: Meghan Winebrenner

Director Trish Sie (Pitch Perfect 3) steps up to bat with her new film Players to help romantic comedies continue mounting a recent comeback. Riding on the heels of the comedic television success of Gina Rodrigez (Jane the Virgin) and Dwayne Wayans Jr. (New Girl), Players is charting positively on Netflix despite minimal marketing. Like the prior comedic efforts of its stars, Sie’s film serves as a lighthearted and playful picture that features an eclectic ensemble cast. Written by Whit Anderson (Ozark) Players leads audiences on a circuitous adventure filled with witty schemes and hilarious antics. 

Players follows a tight-knit group of friends as they tackle the New York City dating scene like a professional sports team. The squad comes up with elaborate “plays” to secure sexual partners, and they are sure to never catch feelings. The team has developed a type of Peter Pan syndrome and refuses to leave their 20s behind. The group dynamic unexpectedly shifts after Mack, portrayed by Gina Rodriguez, deviates from her playbook by falling for Nick, a prize-winning war correspondent, portrayed by Tom Ellis (Lucifer). Mack’s desires to mature both in her career and in her personal life, and therefore justifies Nick as her perfect match. The gang’s escapades quickly shift from securing one-night-stands, to securing a drawer in Nick’s apartment. However, as their plan takes shape, underlying tensions begin to reveal themselves within the group.

Although Players’ plot driven focus is the romantic emotions of its leads, the greatest love story portrayed in Players is the relationship between New York City and its young residents. From catching a game at Yankee Stadium to an iconic jog along the East River, or pitchers of beer at The Gutter in Williamsburg, everything about director Sie’s New York City is illustrated in an enchanting and glamorous fashion.  Even lonely nights in dingy dive bars are painted in an appealing manner. But, life in the big city isn’t the only phenomenon highlighted in this comedy. The film also shines a light on the sports communities that bring neighborhoods together, and lays bare why Americans are so enthralled with their city’s home teams. This celebration of community is also stressed throughout the film by the friendships shared amongst its main characters. Each of Sie’s comedic and quirky characters brings its own flare to the screen. When the romance in Players feels scarce, the love felt through friendship triumphs, and audiences are left with a greater appreciation for the people they have in their corner. 

Target Score 5/10 - In a time when romantic comedies are trending up, Netflix's Players moves the needle in the right direction. With a fun cast and a trendy backdrop, audiences will be charmed by Trish Sie’s latest film.