The Stream: The two romantic leads have zero chemistry.
The Big Screen: Umm… let me think about it…
The Final Bill: A boring, unoriginal romantic comedy devoid of both romance and comedy.– Trip Fontaine
Director: Aline Brosh McKenna
Writers: Aline Brosh McKenna
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher, Zoe Chao, Jesse Williams,
Wesley Kimmel, Tig Notaro, Steve Zahn
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rating: PG-13 for suggestive material and brief strong language
Runtime: 1 hour 44 minutes
Production Companies: Aggregate Films, Hello Sunshine, Lean Machine
Platform: On Netflix on February 10, 2023
Happy Valentine’s Day, Streamers! It’s still that time of the month where people are celebrating the matters of the heart. If you are still in that mood, maybe you’ll want to check out another romantic comedy. Netflix released Your Place or Mine from Reese Witherspoon’s prolific production company, Hello Sunshine. Not to spoil the review, but I watched it, so you don’t have to.
Your Place or Mine stars Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher and was written and directed by Aline Brosh McKenna, who also wrote The Devil Wears Prada. In the film, Witherspoon plays Debbie, whose main characteristic is overbearing mom, while Ashton Kutcher plays Debbie’s long-time best friend, Peter, who is basically a rich commitment-phobe. Debbie lives in Los Angeles while Peter lives in New York. Debbie has planned a trip to New York to complete an accounting course, but when the childcare for her son (Wesley Kimmel) falls through at the last minute, Peter offers to watch Debbie’s son so that she doesn’t have to miss this opportunity. Debbie stays at Peter’s place in New York, and Peter stays at Debbie’s. Each learns a lot more about the other that they didn’t know despite their long-term friendship. Stale, cliched nonsensical hijinks without any romance ensue.
Oh, dear… Your Place or Mine is very boring. Actually, Hollywood has forgotten how to make good romantic comedies. They are so formulaic and cliched that it’s not interesting anymore. Therefore, these films really have to rely on the strength of their cast to inject energy into these very stale stories. Unfortunately, Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher have no chemistry as romantic interests or even as friends. They make no sense together and they don’t even really share any screen time. Reese is doing the thing she typically does, which can get annoying. Ashton isn’t doing anything but being very bland wallpaper. Witherspoon and Kutcher could have made this movie 15-20 years ago without changing much, and it probably would have been better. It at least would have been at their peak of fame, but now they feel too old for this. Nevertheless, it really is a fatal flaw for a romantic comedy to have no romance and no comedy.
I don’t know how much Netflix spent on this movie, but it feels dated and cheap. The background shots are obvious greenscreen or backdrops. Everything looks so fake, which is a shame since the story is so flimsy, too. It’s like there was very little thought put into it at all. I will say that Jesse Williams shows up for a small part, and he deserves better than being wasted in this bland meh-ess.
(As a side rant: I do not get the fascination with Zoe Chao. Why does she keep getting cast in things? I think she literally plays the same role in every movie she’s in. I’m very tired of seeing her as these random sidekick characters. Either do something different with her or stop casting her. Side rant over.)
Ultimately, Your Place or Mine is not a romance or a comedy. There is no romance and very little comedy. The story is both bland and nonsense. It uses the typical romantic comedy tropes but forgets to add any energy or anything interesting to the film. I’m giving this one popped kernel to be generous. If you like Reese Witherspoon and have to watch a romantic comedy, dig up Sweet Home Alabama instead.