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Your Place or Mine Review: Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher Aren't at Home in This Awful Rom-Com

The Netflix movie can't find its spark

Jordan Hoffman
Wesley Kimmel and Reese Witherspoon, Your Place or Mine

Wesley Kimmel and Reese Witherspoon, Your Place or Mine

Erin Simkin/Netflix

There's no genre more unjustly maligned than the romantic comedy. What's Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing or an Oscar-winning classic like Annie Hall other than a rom com? Yet many people wave the entire art form away, suggesting that anything occupied with the tiny distraction of, you know, falling in love (certainly of paramount interest to people in real life) isn't important enough for cinema. "Sounds like a Lifetime movie" is what you'll sometimes get back should you try to summarize a typical entry in the canon. It's preposterous. 

So now that I've made my position known — that I am not some tough guy bro ashamed of having feelings, and that I find falling in love with characters who are falling in love with one another to be one of the best things a movie can offer — it is with great sadness I must report that Your Place or Mine is horrible. Just flat-out horrible.

Starring Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher, this low-energy, devoid-of-originality feature is written and directed by Aline Brosh McKenna, whose previous credits include the screenplays for The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses, the underrated Morning Glory, and Cruella, as well as co-creating Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Some notable material indeed, but there is, unfortunately, none of the sparkle or wit found in those earlier titles evident in Your Place or Mine. Its only value, really, is the chance to watch this on a couch with a loved one and shout, "Ugggggh, really?!?!"


Your Place or Mine


  • Tig Notaro and Wesley Kimmel make the most of their characters
  • Witherspoon and Kutcher are charming enough


  • The script lacks wit
  • It also lacks logic
  • New York and L.A. don't feel real

The setup is this: Twenty years ago, Debbie (Witherspoon) and Peter (Kutcher) hooked up, but instead of pursuing a relationship they pivoted to becoming intense BFFs. Though she had dreams of working in publishing and he wanted to be a great author, he eventually moved from Los Angeles to New York to become a millionaire in business branding (his vocation is exceptionally vague), and she ended up as a single mom who drinks a lot of coffee and has some kind of desk. What she does at this desk I couldn't figure out, but she's got time to dump exposition on the always-welcome Tig Notaro, a brilliant comic whose mighty powers are still no match for the uninteresting, unfunny lines she's been commanded to speak. 

Debbie needs some kind of job certification thingamajig, so she plans for a week of courses in New York. Unfortunately, her go-to babysitter just landed an acting gig and bails on watching her kid. She was going to stay at Peter's, but since Peter is extremely unattached (and lonely! So very lonely despite the wealth and the parade of sex partners and the preposterous apartment overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge!), he decides to fly out and look after young Jack (Wesley Kimmel) himself.

We soon discover that Debbie has been smothering Jack with worry; the kid just wants to try out of the hockey team and watch horror movies. And Peter, despite having a very lucrative position, has found time to work on a masterpiece of a novel (which he keeps in a manila envelope in his oven for some reason). Over the course of the week, despite being 3,000 miles away from one another, the two will realize that they are deeply in love.

Tig Notaro and Ashton Kutcher, Your Place or Mine

Tig Notaro and Ashton Kutcher, Your Place or Mine

Erin Simkin/Netflix

Which is fine, totally fine; it's more than fertile soil for a good romantic comedy if done well. But I swear to you that any random episode of Mad About You has bigger and more meaningful laughs than this picture does. For starters, it just feels like it was written by a person who has never actually visited Los Angeles or New York. Debbie, walking around the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, can't get over "how many people there are" out in the streets. Sure, L.A. has less population density, but it ain't exactly the Gobi Desert! There's also a preposterous interpretation of "what rich people do." All the elder Millennial tech millionaires from Brooklyn hang out in dark oak dining clubs (exterior: Manhattan's Metropolitan Club), and when Debbie hands a hotshot editor Peter's manuscript, he drops everything, reads it, offers him a deal, and works to get her a job, too. It's just one bit of nonsense after the other.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, is summarized as a place where a rich kook named Zen (Steve Zahn) offers wisdom while trimming hedges. (OK, maybe that isn't quite so far off.) 

I am sure people who'd be content in life just being around Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher as they talk on the phone will find some degree of enjoyment in this movie. (Hey, that's another thing: Everyone is ALWAYS taking on mobile devices with bluetooth headphones, but they sound crystal clear? What kind of science fiction is this!?!) Witherspoon and Kutcher are two agreeable performers, and there's a kind of breezy, low-stakes charm to listening to them jibber-jab about their day, even if it's meandering. Also, the kid actor, Wesley Kimmel, has terrific comic timing. He and Tig Notaro really do deserve kudos for making the most of these wafer thin characters. I suppose that people home on medical leave and ordered to keep their excitement level super low could find use in this film. 

A cherry on top of all this is that the title doesn't even make sense. It implies that there is some kind of conflict about where this bi-coastal romance should settle, and this does not come up at all. It's just a familiar phrase, so it slips in easy. Just like "Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher, why not?" seems like a no-brainer, so why not stream it? If you decided to do so, though, don't say I didn't warn you. Hey, which service has Mad About You?

Premieres: Friday, Feb. 10 on Netflix
Who's in it: Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher, Wesley Kimmel, Tig Notaro, Steve Zahn, Zoe Chao
Who's behind it: Aline Brosh McKenna (writer-director)
For fans of: Low-stakes rom-coms, East Coast-West Coast stereotypes