Your Place or Mine Review

A satisfyingly safe romantic comedy that glides by on the effortless charm of Ashton Kutcher and Reese Witherspoon.

Last Updated on February 15, 2023

Plot: Debbie and Peter have been best friends for 20 years even though they’re total opposites. Practical, risk-averse accountant Debbie craves routine and stability with her son Jack in LA; Stylish brand consultant Peter thrives on change in New York City. When they swap houses and lives for a week, they learn they haven’t told each other everything after all and discover what they think they want might not be what they really need. 

Review: It is February, so every studio and streamer release an onslaught of romantic movies for audiences looking for Valentine’s Day programming. In the post-pandemic era, viewers are more discerning than ever, making movies like Your Place or Mine the perfect fit for those who want safe, fun, comfortable movies that will make them laugh, cry, and cuddle with their significant others. With rom-com veterans Ashton Kutcher and Reese Witherspoon in the lead roles, Your Place or Mine checks all of the requisite boxes for a successful romantic comedy and plays by the expected rules. Like a box of chocolates, you know exactly what you are getting with this movie: equal parts sweet and decadent but easily discarded when you finish it.

Opening with Peter (Ashton Kutcher) and Debbie (Reese Witherspoon) hooking up in 2003, replete with on-screen graphics pointing out the antiquated early 21st-century aesthetics. Despite their chemistry, twenty years later, the pair are best friends separated by thousands of miles. Peter is a successful consultant in New York City with casual romances that never last more than six months. Debbie is a by-the-book single mother raising her son, Jack (Wesley Kimmel, nephew of Jimmy Kimmel). When Debbie has the chance to finish an accounting degree in NYC, she stays at Peter’s apartment while he heads to California to take care of Jack. During their time in each other’s homes, the two friends discover more about each other’s lives that they didn’t know. It also allows the two to learn about the other without cliche dating sequences or awkward in-person interactions. In short, it is the perfect social distancing era romance.

As the trailers have teased, Your Place or Mine splits the romantic leads for virtually the entire film, a conceit used in the Nancy Meyers rom-com The Holiday starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. Here, Ashton Kutcher and Reese Witherspoon play close friends and former romantic partners and communicate throughout the film using split screens, FaceTime, and voicemails. This disconnect between the two lends the film a Sleepless in Seattle meets You’ve Got Mail vibe, but it also allows for character development for each character to occur in a way that feels fresh for the main characters. It also helps that the film features the requisite comedic supporting characters who offset the more even-keeled protagonists. It lacks the chemistry between the two leads that you would expect from a movie like this, with Kutcher and Witherspoon sharing less than fifteen total minutes together physically.

Your Place or Mine, Netflix, Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher

It is interesting that, unlike many romantic comedies, most of this cast is all in their mid-forties, giving the story a more realistic feel. Kutcher and Witherspoon are only two years apart in real life, and the supporting characters are all within a five-year age range. Zoe Chao plays Peter’s former flame, Minka, who compliments Debbie’s safe lifestyle and pulls her out of her comfort zone. Chao never plays Minka as vapid but allows her to be playful and serves as something of a fairy godmother, orchestrating Debbie’s relationship with a book editor, Theo (Jesse Williams). In California, Peter interacts primarily with Jack, and Wesley Kimmel is a charmingly natural actor. Kutcher never feels over the top, and this may be one of his better performances. Kutcher spends a lot of time with Tig Notaro as a mutual friend, Alicia, whose dry wit is hilarious. Despite brief appearances from Shiri Appleby and Rachel Bloom, the other significant character is Steve Zahn’s Zen, the only one-dimensional performance in the film.

Written and directed by Aline Brosh McKenna, best known for writing the screenplay for The Devil Wears Prada and 27 Dresses and co-creating Crazy Ex-Girfriend, Your Place or Mine never feels like it is going to end up going in any direction aside from a happy ending. Clocking in at just under two hours, the movie does not offer much in the form of challenges to Peter and Debbie ending up together. Even when things present themselves in the final act that could derail the fairytale ending, they never really amount to much of a realistic chance of stopping the film from going the formulaic route. It never feels disingenuous as the movie chugs along, and it never feels boring, but the energy level of what happens stays pretty mellow. There are heartfelt moments and a couple of sexy ones as well, but aside from a well-placed f-bomb, this movie is very safe for general audiences.

Your Place or Mine, Netflix, Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher

Your Place or Mine is a satisfyingly safe romantic comedy that glides by on the effortless charm of the two leads while never presenting any chance that the pair will not end up together. This is not a laugh-out-loud comedy, but it is just romantic enough that you will be grinning as you watch it. The more jaded viewers will likely roll their eyes at this movie. Still, given the excellent supporting performances from Tig Notaro and Zoe Chao, even the least romantic will find some bright spots in this movie. I would have liked a little more shared time between Kutcher and Witherspoon, a little more development on the subplots involving their dream jobs, and an ending that doesn’t feel so rushed, but you could do a lot worse than a couple of hours with an age-appropriate couple experiencing a pretty realistic relationship.

Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.