Your Place or Mine has an infectious charm and some genuine laughs, though the ending needed a rewrite.
Directed by Aline Brosh McKenna, we review the 2023 Netflix film Your Place or Mine, which does not contain spoilers.
This is a week of romantic comedies at Ready Steady Cut. Every streaming service is premiering one, and yours truly covers four of them. You know, the kind that leaves logic at the door, with scripts overdosing on sentimentality. Movies that will make you appreciate what you have and long for what you don’t. The Netflix entry, Your Place or Mine, has an awful title. However, this rom-com can be charming, mildly funny, and surprisingly sweet.
Your Place or Mine (2023) Review and Plot Summary
The story follows two friends who reflect on and celebrate 20 years of friendship. Debbie (Reese Witherspoon) and Peter (Ashton Kutcher) are best friends. Their relationship started dating, and deciding to be opposites; they would be better off as friends. This being a romantic comedy, one would think an attractive pair with such a friendship, along with the rule that opposites attract, would make a great couple. Peter is aggressive, a wealthy and hip brand consultant. He left his dreams of wanting to be a writer decades ago for a rich and ambitious lifestyle. In comparison, Debbie abandoned her dreams as a writer for the safe choice of being an accountant. In Peter’s eyes, she takes very few risks professionally. Even personally.
Debbie has a thirteen-year-old son Jack (Wesley Kimmel). Her actress friend Scarlet (Rachel Bloom) lands a part in a film, so she cannot watch Debbie’s son during a scheduled visit to New York City. For some odd reason, Debbie has a gardener (Steve Zahn) who used to own her house. He has never left, and the man simply won’t stop pruning. (Yes, we are wondering why the man cannot watch Jack too). So Peter volunteers. Their planes (probably) pass each other, and they swap homes for a week, where Peter tries to be a father to Jack. In contrast, Debbie meets a dashing book publisher (Jesse Williams). There is an immediate attraction. And they eye f**k each while talking over the list of books that he’s put out in the world.
Written and directed by Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada), her film is more interesting and excels when the script focuses on the leads interacting with supporting characters. In particular, one of Peter’s exes (Zoe Chao) shows up half-naked under a coat while Deb house sits in his beautiful New York apartment (with the most fantastic view you’ll ever see). Chao is very funny, making Deb her project and pushing her out of her comfort zone. Then you have Deb’s friend, a school mom (Tig Notaro), who delivers her dry sense of humor as Peter attempts to be father Jack. The young man needs a father, and Peter encourages Jack to try new things, like making friends and going out for the hockey team.
What you have here with McKenna’s film is About a Boy meets You’ve Got Mail. Peter is looking to find more meaning in his life by being a father figure to Jack. Then Deb, a lover of literature, is swooned by William’s book publisher Theo. The rom-com avoids the genre pitfalls of will they or won’t they for 90 minutes with the constant interaction that can make a film feel endlessly long. Here, the viewer enjoys both stories that gently fold in hints and backstory clues on each lead character pining for each other.
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There are some common sense questions. It would be normal for anyone to be weary of a friend who has relapsed twice with drugs and alcohol to watch over their kids without worry. The romance between Debbie and Theo has some actual heat to it, and their storyline could have been its feature film. So, there’s the danger some viewers may feel they are suitable for each other, which will ruin the payoff. And frankly, Peter keeps items hidden around his immaculately cleaned apartment, equipped with an inside-the-home surveillance system, inside large brown clasp envelopes like a serial killer hiding mementos. But we can ignore that because if Witherspoon vouches for him, and the guy looks like Ashton Kutcher, he must be great, right?
Is Your Place or Mine good?
Your Place or Mine has a rushed ending that doesn’t do the film any favors. However, the lead performances are charming. There are some genuine laughs from the cast, particularly the infectious Zao Choe. This romantic comedy will appeal strictly to fans of the genre and/or Witherspoon and Kutcher’s star power. While I was initially on the fence about McKenna’s film because the ending needed a rewrite, there is enough here to offer a mild recommendation.
What did you think of the 2023 Netflix film Your Place or Mine? Comment below.