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Avoid Netflix’s new rom-com Players and watch these instead

Published Feb 20th, 2024 7:54PM EST
Players on Netflix
Image: K.C. Bailey/Netflix

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I love Gina Rodriguez. She’s an actress of immense natural charm, charisma, and talent — and even when she’s not doing much of anything in a particular scene, her megawatt smile alone lights up the screen. I’ve loved her in everything from the ridiculously sweet Jane the Virgin to the obscure Netflix gem Lost Ollie, which is why … I’m not exactly thrilled to write off her newest film, Netflix’s Players, as a complete misfire.

In Players — which has pretty terrible scores on Rotten Tomatoes (45% from critics and 51% from viewers) — Rodriguez plays a New York sportswriter named Mack who loves crafting hook-up “plays” with her friend Adam (Damon Wayans Jr.). It’s kind of a ridiculous framing on which to hang the plot of a rom-com, but that hobby nevertheless leads to lots of meaningless one-night stands. For Mack, it’s all fun and games until she meets and falls for a charming war correspondent played by Tom Ellis. That meeting causes her to … are you ready for this? … rethink her whole “game” (she’s a sportswriter, get it?)

Long story short: Gina Rodriguez is great. Players, however, is not. The humor is generic, the sparks feel forced, and there’s nothing here you haven’t seen before.

If, however, a quality rom-com is what you’re looking for from Netflix, we wholeheartedly recommend the three winners below instead.


Entergalactic on Netflix
Scott Mescudi as Jabari and Jessica Williams as Meadow in “Entergalactic” on Netflix Image source: Netflix

Kid Cudi’s animated Netflix special Entergalactic debuted to a well-deserved perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The 90-minute special is both a rom-com but also a standalone visual complement to Kid Cudi’s album of the same name. It oozes charm and good vibes, the animation throughout is stylish and comic book-cool, and there’s just so much to love — from the music to the fashion to the love story at the center of it all. “Scott ‘Kid Cudi’ Mescudi and Kenya Barris join forces to present the television event Entergalactic,” Netflix’s synopsis explains.

“An original, immersive, animated story about a young artist named Jabari — voiced by Mescudi — as he attempts to balance love and success. Finding the latter brings Jabari a step closer to the former, when moving into his dream apartment introduces him to his new neighbor, photographer it-girl Meadow — voiced by Jessica Williams. An explosion of art, music, and fashion, Entergalactic takes place in the only city that can handle all three: New York.”

Always Be My Maybe

Always Be My Maybe on Netflix
Randall Park and Ali Wong in “Always Be My Maybe” on Netflix. Image source: Netflix

This 2019 rom-com starring Ali Wong and Randall Park as childhood friends Sasha and Marcus (who reunite in adulthood) offers a template for how a movie like Players can avoid the most common mistakes made by rom-coms (like being formulaic and derivative, for starters).

In Always Be My Maybe, Sasha, who’s now a celebrity chef, returns to her hometown to open a new restaurant and runs into Marcus, who’s a happy yet complacent musician still living at home and working for his dad. “Though the two are reluctant to reconnect,” Netflix explains, “they soon find the old sparks — and maybe some new ones — are there.”

Love at First Sight

Love at First Sight on Netflix
Haley Lu Richardson as Hadley Sullivan and Ben Hardy as Oliver Jones in Love at First Sight. Image source: Rob Baker Ashton/Netflix

This final Netflix rom-com is as old as the genre of romance itself — the idea that two people, from the first time they meet, can feel the kind of attraction that leads to love.

Based on Jennifer E. Smith’s novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and starring Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy as the requisite pair of lovebirds, the Netflix movie Love at First Sight finds the characters of Hadley and Oliver slowly starting to fall in love on their flight from New York to London. Until, that is, they lose each other at customs, their hopes dashed, and feeling like the odds are too great that they’ll ever find the other again.

“After missing her flight from New York to London, Hadley (Haley Lu Richardson) meets Oliver (Ben Hardy) in a chance encounter at the airport that sparks an instant connection,” explains the official Netflix synopsis. “A long night on the plane together passes in the blink of an eye but upon landing at Heathrow, the pair are separated, and finding each other in the chaos seems impossible. Will fate intervene to transform these seatmates into soul mates?”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.