YOUR PLACE OR MINE (2023)
Release Date: 02/10/23 [Netflix]
"Two long-distance best friends change each other's lives when she decides to pursue a lifelong dream and he volunteers to keep an eye on her teenage son."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
It’s been a long while since the last time we’ve seen Ashton Kutcher (12 years) or Reese Witherspoon (6 years) in the lead of a romantic comedy and to be honest, it’s great to see them back at what they do best. While Your Place or Mine doesn’t reinvent the wheel (which at this point, what romantic comedy will?), the experience is a mixed-bag of hilarious, charming yet predictable hits of dopamine to launch you into Valentine’s Day.
Witherspoon and Kutcher are fantastic together, or should I say “apart” from one another as almost the entire feature has the two love interests on separate sides of the country (LA / NYC), speaking purely through calls and texts over a cellular device. We, as the viewer, only get two key scenes where the two stars share the same air and that leads to some unlikely theories buzzing around the internet. Even from a long distance, the pair share immense chemistry with one another and produce the most genuine smiles out of the entire cast.
The issue with the film beyond its predictability is it’s lacking depth when it comes to its side characters, especially the third lead of the film: Debbie’s son Jack (Wesley Kimmel), who feels mismanaged in the creative direction of the script.
In Los Angeles, Ashton Kutcher’s Peter is attempting to help Jack make friends at school, alongside an off-putting gardener Steve Zahn and Tig Notaro’s wonderfully comedic friend. While on the other side of the country in NYC, Witherspoon’s Debbie is trying to crush on an only partially-realized publisher character played by Jesse Williams and supported by her out-of-nowhere friendship with Zoë Chao’s eccentric personality. The film is loaded with side plots and side characters that come and go at a moment’s notice and many are left stranded with no resolve. Your Place or Mine fails to even have a successful close for our leads, as the film ends with literal text explaining where the characters are now.
The long roster of characters have charisma and charm, every single one of them, and given time to be better fleshed out, the entire picture may have made for an instant Valentine’s Day classic - but in the end it results in being creatively rushed. Is it fantastic to see Kutcher and Witherspoon back in their rom-com ways? Absolutely, but this love story suffered from too many ideas, surrounded by numerous unfinished character arcs and a love connection, that could have easily shared a few more scenes before stumbling into a time jump through text.