Add “Your Place or Mine” to the record of split-screen rom-coms, the place the celebs (on this case Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher) basically function on parallel tracks. Whereas that has labored out earlier than (assume “Sleepless in Seattle”), it doesn’t right here, in a Netflix film that proves roughly as generic as its title.
Kutcher and Witherspoon acquired some playful mockery for the awkwardness of their red-carpet photos collectively, however if you truly see the movie it makes extra sense, for the reason that two share comparatively few scenes. Then once more, the film is as a lot about actual property as romance, in addition to the acquainted query of paths taken and never chosen.
Regardless of a fleeting historical past described as a “hookup,” Kutcher’s Peter and Witherspoon’s Debbie have been platonic pals for 20 years. They nonetheless speak usually, with him main the lifetime of a rich playboy enterprise advisor in New York (Batman with out the cool toys), and her positioned in Los Angeles, grappling with the challenges of single motherhood to a 13-year-old son (Wesley Kimmel, Jimmy’s nephew), whose allergy symptoms make her a trifle overprotective.
Scheduled to spend every week in New York getting a level that can advance her profession, Debbie abruptly loses her babysitting, at which level Peter gallantly steps in, providing to fly to LA and keep at her home and take care of her child whereas she occupies his luxurious house.
Within the course of, they each get to stroll a couple of miles within the different’s sneakers (and lives), like a type of reality-TV reveals, solely with a greater musical rating and nicer equipment.
Written and directed by Aline Brosh McKenna of “Loopy Ex-Girlfriend” renown (who additionally produced together with, amongst others, Witherspoon and Jason Bateman), “Your Place” hinges on Peter and Debbie studying to understand one another’s variations – she’s a stickler for routine, whereas he’s free-spirited, or “irresponsible” in her eyes – by way of their house-swap experiences.
That’s weak gas to maintain the wheels churning even on this kind of car, so varied subplots emerge, like Peter making an attempt to loosen up restrictions on Debbie’s child, and Debbie discovering an unpublished e-book Peter has written, which comes into play when his eager-to-be-chummy ex-girlfriend (Zoë Chao) introduces her to a dashing (and in addition divorced) writer, performed by Jesse Williams.
Brosh McKenna clearly is aware of her method across the style (her writing credit additionally embody “27 Attire”), as do her stars. The supporting gamers – together with Steve Zahn as a hippie-dippy LA neighbor – are quirky sufficient to shoulder a few of the load.
Even grading on a rom-com curve, although, the construction makes the film a little bit of a slog because it oscillates between Debbie and Peter’s arcs, after the latter has quite feebly defined that the 2 aren’t collectively by saying, “As a result of she’s her, and I’m me.”
“Your Place or Mine” will most likely do exactly superb for Netflix, standing out from a pack of Valentine’s Day-timed rom-coms as a result of Witherspoon is her, and Kutcher is him. However these awkward red-carpet photographs weren’t the one a part of this train that didn’t fairly work, no matter place one occurs to observe it.
“Your Place or Mine” premieres February 10 on Netflix. It’s rated PG-13.