your place or mine Movie Review
your place or mine Movie Review Metadata
Remember the days when date night included dinner and a movie? Sitting close to each other, holding hands, sharing popcorn? When actors like Julia Roberts and Matthew McConaughey went from movie stars to mega-stars because of their roles in rom-coms? Sadly those days are long gone with few of these films making it to the big screen and just one romantic comedy grossing $100M+ at U.S. theaters in the last seven years – points if you can even name that movie (answer at the bottom). Reviewing what most often releases in theaters today, if it’s not a superhero film, scary movie, or part of a franchise, Hollywood has deemed it won’t be a success and banished it to the small screen. But why?
Are big stars no longer interested in starring in light, fun fare? Julia and George – both are big enough to use only first names – recently partnered on the big screen in Ticket to Paradise so that makes it hard to believe. Heck, that film grossed nearly $70M stateside and over $70M stateside and over $170M worldwide. Is it because streaming platforms are throwing big bucks for new content? Maybe. Or is it because writers are failing to produce quality original stories worthy of a big marketing push? Perhaps when executives are looking at finished products like Jennifer Lopez’s recent Amazon Prime release Shotgun Wedding, they see a movie that showed far better on paper than on film. And maybe that is why a movie like Your Place or Mine starring popular actors Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher finds itself premiering on Netflix instead of theaters nationwide.
Witherspoon’s first rom-com since 2017’s Home Again has her playing Debbie, a level-headed single mom, who needs to head out east for a week to complete an accounting degree. When her son’s babysitter cancels at the last minute, her best friend of two decades, Peter (Kutcher), swaps places and watches her son Jack (Wesley Kimmel). 20 years earlier these two went on a date and had a one-night fling and while it didn’t lead to a romantic relationship, the two became besties from that day forward. What follows is a far too predictable and boring movie. Rom-com outcomes are often predictable, but what makes a film great is the anticipation leading up to the main characters getting together. None of that is here.
Everything in Your Place or Mine plays it far too safe, as if taking a risk might upset someone involved in the making of the film. Witherspoon who hasn’t aged a day and has proven she play serious or silly, sweet or salty gets to play the goody-too-shoes lead she’s played before. Kutcher, still as charismatic as he was when he shot to stardom in Fox’s , is the perfect leading man for a rom-com. Yet together, under the direction of Aline Brosh McKenna, there is very little in the film that works.
McKenna’s use of split screen is as dated as the film’s 2003 opening scene. While attempting to show two characters on opposite ends of the country without having to flip flop between NY and L.A., the concept never really lands. It’s difficult to know whether McKenna, who also wrote the script, utilized superimposed text over everything from why the audience should believe the opening is taking place 20 years ago to the last scene of the film because she doesn’t believe the audience is intelligent enough to recognize it is the early 2000’s per se or because it is supposed to be funny. If the latter, then uh oh because McKenna who wrote the iconic screenplay for The Devil Wears Prada seemingly forgot that rom-coms are supposed to include comedy. Outside of a few chuckles nearly an hour into the film, it is near impossible to find a joke worthy of laughing. The use of phrases like “uh, barf” and “selfish butthole” almost make the film feel like it’s been edited so that it may be shown in a high school classroom without parental permission. Like the recently released You People, a popular, successful stand-up comedian is left without a joke that lands – in this case it is McKenna wasting the talent of Tig Notaro who stars as Alicia, a longtime friend of both Debbie and Peter. And someone please explain Steve Zahn’s role as Zen, Debbie’s next door neighbor and self-chosen gardener who never leaves her garden.
Your Place or Mine will ultimately have you saying ‘find somewhere else’.
ANSWER: The last rom-com to make $100M+ at the U.S. box office was Crazy Rich Asians in 2018.
Your Place or Mine is now streaming on Netflix.