• Network: HBO MAX
  • Series Premiere Date: May 27, 2021
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Jun 8, 2021
    100
    The show's concept—that in a mobile America where nobody stays long in the same ZIP code, particularly in their 20s, your family is your friends—still resonates.
  2. Reviewed by: Brett White
    May 26, 2021
    90
    Friends: The Reunion completely redefines how we should view sitcom reunions moving forward, and it sets the bar so high that I truly don’t know if any other get together can ever top it.
  3. Reviewed by: Liz Shannon Miller
    May 27, 2021
    80
    Despite having a runtime equalling almost five episodes of the actual show, the biggest surprise of the special is just how entertaining and engaging those 104 minutes end up being.
  4. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    May 26, 2021
    80
    As reunions go, the whole thing is warm, funny, entertaining, and a little too treacly at times — but that’s how Friends was, too, so it feels right.
  5. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    May 26, 2021
    80
    Throughout the reunion, there are some very genuine-seeming failures by certain performers to remember aspects of the shows that their co-stars recall quite clearly, and the collective, wobbly journey down Mortality Lane comes across as spontaneous and authentic. For all its weepiness, the show is an emotionally satisfying reminiscence.
  6. Reviewed by: Adam White
    May 26, 2021
    80
    Friends: The Reunion doesn’t quite justify its existence, but it still goes down easy.
  7. Reviewed by: Anita Singh
    May 26, 2021
    80
    Some of the cast seemed happier than others to be there – LeBlanc was a supremely jolly, relaxed guest – and a suggestion of on-set romance between two of the cast had a whiff of insincerity about it. But when Perry sat back in the recliner in his old apartment and told LeBlanc: “Ah, Matty, good to see you,” he sounded as if he really meant it. And a global audience of Friends fans will share the sentiment.
  8. Reviewed by: Kelly Lawler
    May 26, 2021
    80
    The special felt effortless and crisp. Editing kept the 105 minute reunion going, although some segments could have been cut to make it snappier. ... Much like the chemistry between the cast helped smooth over bad jokes or the poor later seasons of the show, their chemistry as real-life friends makes the reunion an easy sell.
  9. Reviewed by: Caroline Framke
    May 26, 2021
    80
    “Friends: The Reunion” isn’t trying to be revealing, at least not about anything that thorny or unpleasant. It’s here to entertain, and to remind fans why they love the show. Digging in to its shortcomings would have made for a more interesting special, but it also wouldn’t have reflected the show itself.
  10. Reviewed by: Amy Amatangelo
    May 26, 2021
    78
    There are so many happy tears—particularly from Aniston, Cox, and Kudrow—during the reunion that you know the love the cast feels for each other is genuine. ... There is very little new ground covered.
  11. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    May 26, 2021
    75
    Unscripted and uneven but still satisfying and warmhearted. ... Like all reunions, the best part of “Friends: The Reunion” is simply getting everyone back in the same room for the first time in far too long.
  12. Reviewed by: Kristen Baldwin
    May 26, 2021
    75
    What works about HBO Max's Friends: The Reunion: The real-life pals hanging out, reminiscing about their run as the most famous TV friends on the planet. Unfortunately, the bloated, 104-minute (!) special sandwiches these flashes of reunion magic between a lot of silly, tiresome filler.
  13. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    May 28, 2021
    70
    No one is going to reflect on the flaws, screw-ups, and offenses. That might have been a more engaging and less predictable special, but it also would have been less true to the shiny, happy spirit of the original series.
  14. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    May 26, 2021
    70
    Sweet, shaggy special. ... The special is better when it gets out of the cast’s way and shows us what drew us to them, and them to each other.
  15. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    May 26, 2021
    70
    A relentlessly busy 104 minutes that yield an impressive array of funny and emotional moments likely to generally, if not fully, satisfy many or even most dedicated fans.
  16. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    May 26, 2021
    70
    It’s an event that’s most interesting when it’s the least forced, when these six actors who really grew up together in the public eye are allowed to wander the rebuilt sets of their apartments, asking each other what they remember from that formative chapter in their lives. Less effective are the superficial questions from host James Corden, or bits in which the cast table read memorable scenes from the history of the series (although, man, Kudrow still gives it her all.)
  17. Reviewed by: Clint Worthington
    Jul 20, 2021
    67
    Perhaps it’s asking too much for Friends: The Reunion to delve deeper into the production, or reveal some lascivious secrets or difficulties, or grapple more with the show’s impact on pop culture. ... In that respect, Friends: The Reunion has plenty of pleasant fluff to entertain.
  18. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    May 28, 2021
    65
    “Friends: The Reunion” is at its best when the camera captures the cast in more candid moments — seeing the set rebuilt for the first time, playing a trivia game.
  19. Reviewed by: Sal Cinquemani
    May 27, 2021
    63
    The special is most compelling when the cast is allowed to just revel in their surroundings, sitting together on the Central Perk set, or in Monica and Rachel’s still-mind-bogglingly mammoth West Village apartment, and reminisce like old friends. But we also lamentably get a series of inexplicable celebrity appearances.
  20. Reviewed by: Lucy Mangan
    May 26, 2021
    60
    We can call it The One That Was Just Good Enough. The One That Was a Nostalgia Fest Not Revisionist History. The One That Did What It Needed to Do. The One That Was Fine.
  21. Reviewed by: Gwen Ihnat
    May 26, 2021
    58
    There is something sweet about seeing all six in the same room together for the first time in years, as their affection for each other is obvious. ... The problem is, for such a well-loved (and well-examined) series, there is very little new info here.
  22. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    May 26, 2021
    55
    Originally intended to help launch HBO Max, "Friends: The Reunion" finally hits the streaming service, in big, slightly bloated, unapologetically nostalgic form. A valentine to fans, the nearly two-hour special is inevitably hard-pressed to justify the hype, working best when it lets the cast casually reminisce, while getting carried away with cameos, some of which, well, couldn't be more random.
  23. Reviewed by: Chris Vognar
    May 26, 2021
    50
    What’s clear beneath all the adulation, and the genuine bond shared by six young actors who grew up together on TV, is that “Friends” was very much a creature of its times. ... “Friends: The Reunion” is a fond look back for those who couldn’t get enough the first time.
  24. Reviewed by: Ben Travers
    May 26, 2021
    42
    “Friends: The Reunion” is a special made to be as broad as possible, and it too often ignores or steps on the intimate connections fans already have with their favorite fictional friends.
  25. Reviewed by: Melanie McFarland
    May 27, 2021
    40
    You have to power through a whole lot of standard reunion rickrack – the present-day table reads of memorable scenes, the clapter-ginning cameos from the likes of Tom Selleck, Thomas Lennon and Cara Delevingne – to get to these interesting flashes, along with a couple of pieces of truly gasp-inducing, previously unrevealed dish.
  26. Reviewed by: Carol Midgley
    May 27, 2021
    40
    It was the kind of show when Corden asked safe, dull, teen magazine questions such as: "Were Ross and Rachel on a break?". It was better when the cast were allowed to wander round the set alone but there was never any danger of a major revelation.
  27. Reviewed by: Megan Garber
    May 27, 2021
    40
    Its reunion special spends nearly two hours frantically arguing that the ubiquity is deserved. ... Friends offered a world devoid of the world. The show’s reunion has now continued the tradition. The special is fan service that also attempts to rationalize the fandom itself. It is trying its best to have it both ways—the enforced intimacy of the sitcom and the market imperative of the global franchise. It is a telethon guided by a tautology.
  28. Reviewed by: Alissa Wilkinson
    May 27, 2021
    40
    I didn’t learn anything interesting, and I wasn’t left with much to think about. The special is curiously empty, aside from some touching moments of camaraderie and affection between the cast members, and the potential discomfort of realizing we’re all getting older.
  29. Reviewed by: Kevin Fallon
    May 26, 2021
    40
    The opening act plays out amid such astonishment that this is all even happening, it’s almost as if a stunned Janice is constantly shrieking, “Oh. My. God.” And yet...it’s also a misguided, confusing mess: stale when it’s not overly sentimental and self-congratulatory, relying on distracting stunts in place of authentic fun.
  30. Reviewed by: Nina Metz
    Jul 14, 2021
    37
    The editing flits all over the place, and I suspect that’s because there’s so little substance to this endeavor. The age of streaming hasn’t been conducive to bonus material like the freewheeling commentary tracks that used to show up as DVD extras, but the nearly two hours assembled here doesn’t rise to the level of even that.
User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 43
  2. Negative: 10 out of 43
  1. May 28, 2021
    3
    I would've much rather seen two hours of the friend walking around the set, talking, reminiscing and interacting with each other and guestI would've much rather seen two hours of the friend walking around the set, talking, reminiscing and interacting with each other and guest stars of the show, and just be without the interview with the unimaginative questions, cameos from people without connection to the show and a cringy "walkway show" with costumes. Missed opportunity. Full Review »
  2. May 27, 2021
    10
    Simply perfect from the beginning until the ending. I'm so emotional because I'm living again what I lived years ago.
  3. Jun 3, 2021
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Very disappointed expected more rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Full Review »