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Review: Your Place or Mine (Netflix)

February 13, 2023

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

The directorial debut of screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, who cut her teeth in the romantic comedy genre writing films like 27 Dresses and The Devil Wears Prada, Your Place or Mine is a Netflix rom-com ready made for Valentine’s Day that delivers exactly what you expect from both the premise and genre.

Starring Ashton Kutcher and Reese Witherspoon as friends who decide to swap living arrangements for a week, the story itself is predictable to a fault, but the two leads both put in likeable work, and the film as a whole is cute enough to pass the time.

Peter (Kutcher) and Debbie (Witherspoon) are longtime friends who slept together once in their twenties, but decided to just remain platonic ever since. Peter now lives in New York, while Debbie stayed in Los Angeles to raise her now 13-year-old son Jack (Wesley Kimmel), from a failed marriage.

They couldn’t be more different; she is the overly planned out single mother, he is the perpetually single guy living in a modern condo who casually hooks up with women but never has a relationship that lasts more than six months. But they have remained close over the years, through constantly chatting on the phone. When Debbie needs to go to New York to complete a business course, Peter flies out to stay with Jack. This arrangement allows Peter to bond with Jack, while Debbie gets to hang out in the big city, including going out for drinks with Peter’s ex-fling Minka (Zoë Chao), and meeting a handsome book publisher named Theo (Jesse Williams).

While there are some hiccups along the way, where this story is heading is never really in doubt, but we are rooting for the inevitable to happen anyway so it’s hard to really mind the inherent predictability of the plot. The most interesting aspect of the film is that the two leads aren’t even onscreen together for much of the running time, with most of their interactions happening through video calls or over the phone. This does prevent them from having some of the sizzling chemistry needed to really sell their romantic relationship, but both actors are able to brighten up the mostly familiar material.

Kutcher has a sort of goofy dad energy that is charming to watch, while Witherspoon reminds us of her natural charm essentially playing a version of herself. The cast is rounded out by Steve Zahn as Zen, the hippie neighbour who hangs out in Debbie’s garden, and Tig Notaro as Alicia, Debbie’s perpetually caffeinated co-worker and friend who serves as the queer voice of reason to both Debbie and Peter, mediating when necessary.

The screenplay also has some ideas about different types of parenting, with Jack being given his own arc, as Peter provides a more laid-back father figure who helps him try new things without his mom worrying about him. Sure, it’s really nothing we haven’t seen before in terms of films about friends realizing their deeper feelings for each other, but Your Place or Mine coasts by on the general likeability of its leads, and is genial and enjoyable enough to leave us smiling at the end. And sometimes that’s enough.

Your Place or Mine is now available to stream exclusively on Netflix.

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