Director: Aline Brosh McKenna
Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher, Jesse Williams, Zoë Chao, and Wesley Kimmel
Your Place or Mine is written and directed by Aline Brosh McKenna, who previously wrote The Devil Wears Prada and 27 Dresses, as well as co-created the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The film stars Reese Witherspoon (who’s also a producer) and Ashton Kutcher. It seems like a recipe for a great rom-com, but it all comes out a little underbaked.
Twenty years ago, Debbie and Peter had a one-night stand but have remained best friends ever since. Despite living on opposite sides of the country, they speak every single day and tell each other everything, at least they say they do. In order for Debbie to take a class in New York, she swaps houses with Peter, with him travelling to LA to look after her son.
The characters are built on cliches and they’re not that interesting. Debbie, played by Reese Witherspoon, is an incredibly overprotective mother, who is practically ruining her child’s life with strict rules and regulations about everything, even though she can’t see it. When Peter arrives at her house, he’s met with a forest of post-it notes to keep everything in order. Her son, Jack has many allergies, which makes his day to day life hard enough as it is. On top of that Debbie also stops him from playing hockey, out of fear it will hurt him, which separates him from his friends and makes him feel incredibly isolated. It really feels like there should be some meaningful fallout with that later in the film, but it’s not done very well. Peter, played by Ashton Kutcher, has serious commitment issues, both in his personal and work life. He never dates anyone for longer than six months, and he moves through clients at work just as quickly. One of the funniest scenes in the film is Peter practically dumping a client that wants him to work for them fulltime, almost instantly after he was broken up with by his girlfriend for not committing to the relationship enough.
Both of the characters have secrets, which they both learn about while living in the other’s house. Debbie hasn’t told Peter about a fair bit of her life, while Peter has also been writing a book. They’ve also both abandoned the dreams they had when they were younger. Debbie wanted to be an editor, while Peter wanted to be a novelist. Life has gotten in the way, and they’ve both stopped taking risks. It’s an interesting set up, but it’s not used very well. The characters are quite one note and don’t really get much development throughout the story. Peter has some trauma from his past, but it’s not really explored in any meaningful way. It strays away from anything too heavy. Beyond that, the jokes are fine, but there’s not enough of them to really make it a worthwhile comedy.
Worst of all, the ending is painfully awful. When the big final scene happens, it quickly devolves into dreadful dialogue and awkward acting just to wrap everything up neatly in the final moments. It’s so forced and just not believable in the slightest. Without spoiling anything, there’s something that Debbie has done, that could potentially change Peter’s life forever when he finds out, but it’s just completely brushed over and then it’s happy ever after (it literally says that on screen).
Hollow is a good way to describe Your Place or Mine. The characters fall flat, and it’s hard to really care about them. There are some funny moments, but nothing makes up for how bad the ending is. An incredibly forgettable rom-com that’s not really worth the time.
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