Friends reunion: Critics slam 'bloated' HBO special and 'banal' James Corden

4 mins read


Friends reunion brings ‘flashes’ of cast magic but is ‘bloated’ with ‘tiresome filler’ and ‘banal’ questions from James Corden, critics claim in early TV reviews

  • EW branded the 42-year-old Late Late Show host’s line of question ‘banal 104-minute special sandwiches these flashes of reunion magic between a lot of silly, tiresome filler’
  • THR noted Corden was only able to draw out ‘superficial conversations’ from the cast which resulted in ‘glibness’ rather than ‘introspection’ 
  • The Deadline review claimed only ‘hardcore’ fans would be satisfied by the ‘filler-packed’ special 
  • The New York Times wrote the special gets ‘better when it gets out of the cast’s way and shows us what drew us to them, and them to each other’ 

The highly-anticipated Friends reunion has been branded ‘bloated’ and jammed with ‘tiresome filler’ by critics in early TV reviews. 

And James Corden has been widely panned for his interview with the show’s stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry, with one slamming his ‘banal’ questions.  

The HBO Max special, which airs on May 27, sees the cast return to the famous set where they filmed the series over 10 years. 

'Banal': Critics have slammed James Corden's (L) interview of the Friends cast during the reunion special, which is set to air on HBO Max on Thursday

‘Banal’: Critics have slammed James Corden’s (L) interview of the Friends cast during the reunion special, which is set to air on HBO Max on Thursday

They received a reported $2.5 million appearance fee for the TV special. 

Entertainment Weekly gave it a grade B noting there were ‘flashes of reunion magic’ during the show, but added: ‘Unfortunately, the bloated, 104-minute (!) special sandwiches these flashes of reunion magic between a lot of silly, tiresome filler.

‘Corden’s interview is banal, though he manages to unearth one (obviously thoroughly vetted in advance) revelation about two of the stars.’

The Hollywood Reporter noted the 42-year-old Late Late Show host was only able to draw out ‘superficial conversations’ from the cast which resulted in ‘glibness’ rather than ‘introspection.’ 

EW gave it a grade B noting there were 'flashes of reunion magic' during the show, but added: 'Unfortunately, the bloated, 104-minute (!) special sandwiches these flashes of reunion magic between a lot of silly, tiresome filler'

EW gave it a grade B noting there were ‘flashes of reunion magic’ during the show, but added: ‘Unfortunately, the bloated, 104-minute (!) special sandwiches these flashes of reunion magic between a lot of silly, tiresome filler’

THR noted the 42-year-old Late Late Show host (L) was only able to draw out 'superficial conversations' from the cast which resulted in 'glibness' rather than 'introspection'

THR noted the 42-year-old Late Late Show host (L) was only able to draw out ‘superficial conversations’ from the cast which resulted in ‘glibness’ rather than ‘introspection’

Deadline claims the reunion will satisfy ‘hardcore’ fans only, noting: ‘If you don’t have a standing order at Central Perk, you’ll probably want to skip the much-hyped, almost two-hour-long shindig that is way more filler than killer, to put it kindly.’  

The New York Times called Corden’s interview ‘peripheral’ in the ‘sweet, shaggy special’ but it gets ‘better when it gets out of the cast’s way and shows us what drew us to them, and them to each other.’

‘There’s plenty you won’t hear about,’ NYT critic James Poniewozik wrote.

‘The contentious contract negotiations; criticisms of the show for casting mainly white actors; personal or health issues. When an audience member asks what the actors disliked about making the show, Corden jokingly chides, “Way to keep it positive!”‘

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