Ahead of the premiere of Friends: The Reunion on HBO Max tomorrow, the first reviews for the one-off special have started to appear and the resounding conclusion seems to be this one is for the hardcore fans and only the hardcore fans. Original series stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer return to the iconic comedy's original soundstage for a conversation about the good old days and if the reviews make one thing clear it's that these moments are fun and engaging. That's not the whole of the special though as multiple cuts to celebrities not involved in the show exist throughout and bring the whole thing down.
As of this writing there are 14 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes for Friends: The Reunion and it's sitting at a 64% rating, technically fresh but if a couple more negative reviews arrive it will get the dreaded green splat and be considered "Rotten." The number that accompanies the Friends reunion, originally scheduled to debut a year ago as HBO Max first premiered, probably won't matter to the die-hard fans of the series but might be enough to keep those curious about it away. The special clocks in at 104 minutes though and apparently not all of it is actually the reunion itself.
The Hollywood Reporter: "A questionable deployment of resources."
"Friends: The Reunion" is like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. My review: https://t.co/d1Ri9gsRle— Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint) May 26, 2021
Rolling Stone: "Overproduced"
Could #FriendsTheReunion BE any more overproduced? When it's just the six of them alone talking on the old sets, it's a lovely trip down memory lane. But then there are all these other people who keep getting in the way. My review: https://t.co/nhPXfEkywd pic.twitter.com/twWAjSIJsf— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) May 26, 2021
Deadline: "For Hardcore Fans Only"
‘Friends: The Reunion’ Review: Much Hyped, Filler-Packed HBO Max Special Is For Hardcore Fans Only https://t.co/1l7RqDy1ZD— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) May 26, 2021
Variety: "extremely glossy"
I wrote about the Friends reunion, the Fresh Prince reunion, and the unpleasantness lingering around the edges of this otherwise extremely glossy special https://t.co/M70kdZTqDn— Caroline Darya Framke (@carolineframke) May 26, 2021
The Guardian: "Nostalgia Fest"
Friends: the Reunion review – The One That Was a Nostalgia Fest and No More https://t.co/rqIzJlY9Lp— Guardian culture (@guardianculture) May 26, 2021
Daily Mirror: "Pure nostalgic joy"
Review klaxon! #FriendsReunion coming to @skytv and @NOW tomorrow! This was two hours of pure nostalgic joy with a lot of guests and surprises. Friends fans will love this. And yes, I cried when it ended. Again. #Friends @DailyMirror https://t.co/3ZZbBB3Zhu— Sara Wallis (@sarawallis) May 26, 2021
CNN: "Lots of Unapologetic Nostalgia"
"Friends: The Reunion" - or The One With Lots of Unapologetic Nostalgia - will be inevitably hard-pressed to live up to the hype, working best when the cast can casually reminisce, and worst with cameos that couldn't BE more random https://t.co/Dp5JGpmfmw— Brian Lowry (@blowryontv) May 26, 2021
The New York Times: "sweet, overstuffed"
New: The sweet, overstuffed Friends reunion is the superhighway of memory lanes https://t.co/RSphHq5q2C— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) May 26, 2021
Decider: "Redefines how we should view sitcom reunions"prevnext
IndieWire: "a huge disappointment"
The #FriendsReunion so heavily favors attracting new subscribers vs. valuing existing fans that David Beckham gets his own segment and Elliott Gould can't even get a full sentence.May 26, 2021