February 7th, 2022
MOVIE: YOUR PLACE OR MINE
STARRING: REESE WITHERSPOON, ASHTON KUTCHER, TIG NOTARO, STEVE ZAHN, JESSE WILLIAMS
DIRECTED BY: ALINE BROSH MCKENNA
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 1 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
The recent movies on Netflix are a test of strength. Between The School for Good and Evil, You People, Slumberland, White Noise, and now Your Place or Mine, the algorithm cares more that the app is running, than if the content is actually good. Each movie has a runtime that is far too long and with narratives that are excruciating to watch. The true challenge is if you can watch it all the way through. I passed the test because it would be unfair of me to review a movie without watching it but you don’t have to. Your Place or Mine is a lame throwback rom-com. From frame one, it is clear where this is going, and instead of trying to challenge or charm, Your Place or Mine settles for a forgettable romance, no matter where you watch it.
Debbie (Reese Witherspoon) and Peter (Ashton Kutcher) are two forty-somethings that hooked up in their twenties and instead of things working out, the two of them just stayed good friends. Currently, Debbie is divorced, and lives in Los Angeles with her son Jack (Wesley Kimmel). Peter is still living the bachelor life. He hooks up with women, sometimes stays with them for a few months, and can never fully commit. Even on separate coasts, their friendship has always been strong, or as Debbie puts it, “we tell each other everything”. When Debbie has plans to go to New York for a week her sitter falls through, but her trip is important, so Peter pulls a solid and volunteers to watch Jack. He’s never had this much responsibility. It’s been a while since she had independence. They swap coasts and both go on their own self journey’s.
It’s not a good sign for a movie when within the first ten minutes one can pick up where a story is going. Writer/director Aline Brosh McKenna may be trying to create a romantic comedy where the separation of two lovers places them on different paths but it’s clear where the road is going. On top of the predictability, there’s an incredible lack of chemistry between every character. Zoe Chao is as Peter’s quirky neighbor and only true presence of life. Steve Zahn practically steals money to be a gardener that never leaves Debbie’s front yard and Tig Notaro gives just enough as another parent at school ready with a cup of coffee to drink. Jesse Williams slides in as a successful book publisher and potential suitor for Debbie, but his presence is nearly a mild distraction, right before the cliched big finale.
On top of the sheer contrived nature of it all, there is nothing about Your Place or Mine that doesn’t feel manufactured. The sets, costumes, staging, and production looks shot on the backlot of a Canadian studio. The cinematography uses the slick tricks of split screens, which comes off as a gimmick instead of a stylistic choice. The entire score is a running playlist of Cars songs, a detail that reminds us that Peter loves their music, and is continuously reinforced. If there are any positives to be had it might be that young Jack and Peter create a sweet bond but like two airplanes passing by one another, it doesn’t last long, and there’s not much excitement to see.
2022 gave us a revival to the rom-com and now things have taken a step back in 2023. The reality of it is that Witherspoon and Kutcher have zero chemistry to convince us that they should get together. There is never a moment that makes your heart flutter. Never a moment to laugh or cry. Sadly, Your Place or Mine is as forgettable as a romantic comedy could ever get. Your place? My place? How about neither.
YOUR PLACE OR MINE IS PLAYING ON NETFLIX FRIDAY FEBRUARY 10TH, 2023.
1 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady