Parents' Guide to

The Players

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Cheating is main theme of dumb Italian sex comedy.

Movie NR 2020 88 minutes
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While being presented as an "Italian sex comedy," there's nothing particularly funny about this movie. For instance, the "twist ending'" to the vignette concerning a dissatisfied married man who resorts to anonymous sex through a hole in the wall of a sex parlor seems more like an X-rated resolution to one of those Mentos commercials from the '90s more than anything. In another story, a pathetic white-collar Don Juan wannabe ends up in the hotel room of a coworker at three in the morning and engages in borderline sexual assault. In the penultimate vignette, a man gaslights his wife (who rightly thinks she sees him receiving oral sex while driving in his convertible) into requiring psychiatric care. Essentially, if you remove the middle-aged European suave style (and perhaps the Viagra), it seems more like one of those randy and very dumb teen sex comedies from the '80s.

The Players isn't all bad. Most of the male characters are played by either Scamarcio or Mastandrea, and the range of character types presented over the course of the movie is impressive. In the best vignette, the slow descent between a husband and wife into a mostly theoretical discussion of infidelity into the mutual admittance of their own indiscretions and how it nearly destroys their marriage and family is masterfully paced. But even that takes the easy way out at the end. Overall, the promising premises of each story end in disappointment.

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