'Your Place or Mine' review: Ashton Kutcher and Reese Witherspoon stumble in lackluster rom-com
Courtesy of Netflix
On paper, matching the charm of two likable performers in a romantic comedy should yield sparks. It worked in “No Strings Attached,” “Friends with Benefits,” and countless others, but in the straight-to-Netflix rehash “Your Place or Mine,” headliners Asthon Kutcher (who, ironically, was in “No Strings Attached”) and rom-com royalty Reese Witherspoon are barley in the same room together or given material that’s worth their time. Oddly enough, for much of writer-director Aline Brosh McKenna’s film, Witherspoon and Kutcher are separated, left to salvage any type of chemistry via FaceTime chats and split-screens and the results are severely lackluster.
Kutcher plays Peter and Witherspoon is Debbie, two old flings who hooked up once and then somehow became inseparable best friends. They talk almost every-day (even in the mornings when a romantic partner is sleeping right next to them?!) and it’s obvious the two are destined to fall in love, but before we get there, we must first go on a routine soul-searching journey where the pair swap houses for two weeks. Peter lives in New York City and Debbie in LA, the former agrees to look after her kiddo, who is allergic to most things, so she can study a vague, ill-defined, writing course. I’m not sure I, nor anyone, could explain the logistics of why Debbie needed to be in NYC for this program other than lazy screenwriting.
Meanwhile back in LA, Peter, who is wealthy, a former alcoholic and weirdly obsessed with The Cars, tries connecting with Debbie’s kid, Jack (Wesley Kimmel) on a variety of things including hockey, food, and Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” He tries using his buckets of money (again, not sure it’s defined how Peter acquired his wealth) to make Jack seem like the cool kid at school, but it explodes in his face. The days end with Peter and Debbie groaning on a FaceTime call about the day which preceded them. Rinse. Repeat.
Last year, “I Want You Back” had fun with the modern day romantic comedy formula (not to mention Charlie Day and Jenny Slate had amazing compatibility) but “Your Place or Mine” hacks it up in favor of loose plot threads that cram too much into very little. Entire sequences set in NYC were clearly filmed on some backlot with horrendous green-screen (it was really that hard to film scenes outside?) and the odd love triangles that are thrown around (poor Jesse Williams) are forgotten as quickly as they’re introduced. And when it all boils down, I’d wager Witherspoon and Kutcher share maybe seven minutes of actual screen time together that’s not a phone call. Thankfully supporting players Zoe Chao, Tig Notaro, and Steve Zahn manage to pull together some laughs, though it’s not enough to salvage this expendable romantic comedy.
YOUR PLACE OR MINE streams on Netflix Friday, Feb 10th.