There’s something to be said about how a romantic comedy makes you feel – whether it’s butterflies in your stomach, a serene happiness for the fictional couple you’ll never know, or a deep hatred for the genre in general.
Your Place or Mine contains so few multitudes that you leave the movie feeling absolutely nothing. There’s no excitement when the couple gets together and no butterflies during the epilogue. There isn’t even enough material for you to hate the movie.
The final blow the movie takes is the lack of chemistry between Deborah (Reese Witherspoon) and Peter (Ashton Kutcher). The sparks that should fly as the couple reunites, quickly fizzles out on the sad airport ground.
Kutcher falls quickly into the playboy with a heart-of-gold lifestyle, while Witherspoon struggles to make us believe she’s not mid-audition. Deborah has no layers (and apparently only one pair of hideous shoes) despite taking up more screen time than felt necessary for her.
Let’s go back to the beginning: stern but kind stay-at-home mom, Deborah, is best friends with laid-back rich player Peter. They slept together in college, but just once, and now they’re just friends. Also, she has a son. Also, she’s poor. Before being introduced to the actual story, the movie builds and builds, and builds. Deborah must attend, in person, a one-week accounting class that’s sure to get her a better-paying job. This class is apparently only available across the country in NYC once a year.
This marks the first time, but certainly not the last, that Your Place or Mine asks us to suspend our disbelief past what a rom-com normally would.
Rachel Bloom is given far too little screen time as she plays her son, Jack’s father’s girlfriend, who is hired for an actress role that requires her to leave… immediately. Because that is apparently how showbiz works. After learning Deb won’t be able to come to NYC for her one-week-only class, Peter offers to watch Jack (Wesley Kimmel) himself and allow Deb to stay in his apartment. This is one of a handful of moments where the possibility of something arises but inevitably fades again.
Peter does this selflessly, in earnest, whereas almost everything Deb does during the movie feels inauthentic and forced. Deb befriends Minka (Zoë Chao) to learn more about Peter, and she goes on a date with Theo (Jesse Williams) to give Peter’s book a chance.
In NYC, Peter’s Rich Guy Apartment™ is soulless and stark, containing couches meant for aesthetics and cups with the price tags still on them. A minuscule detail, and it’s probably what confuses me most about this film. His silverware is still wrapped, meant to show how little he’s at the apartment, but in what world do you not use one fork? How are you dating someone for over six months, and you don’t offer them a drink in your home sans a price tag?
We meet the inimitable Minka, who is exciting and interesting and deserves her own romantic comedy where she gets a girlfriend and lives happily ever after. Minka is what this movie wants Peter to be. She throws caution to the wind, wraps everyone around her finger, and is confident in what she says and does.
On the other hand, through Kutcher, Peter brings nothing to the character that makes him unique. I’m unsure whether it’s genuinely Kutcher’s fault or if the script will never match who he is. The same can be said for Witherspoon, who’s clunky and unfit in her role as Deb.
Nothing happens for a while, and then, suddenly, everything happens. The last 40 or so minutes of Your Place or Mine are incredibly rushed, leading them to feel terribly disjointed and lacking the crucial importance of caring about what happens to any of these people.
The almost final scene takes place in an airport, containing no sweeping romance that usually comes with an airport chase or confession. There isn’t even a cheesy moment where the audience they’ve gathered unnecessarily claps for them. It feels empty and hollow, much like the rest of this movie.
In the end, Jack boldly tells his mother he’s sick of being babied, Peter moves in with him and Deb after his book is published, and Deb is hired as an editor at a widely popular publishing company. Deb, who somehow convinces a man she didn’t know that she edited a book when all she did was read it, gets an editing job with absolutely zero experience.
There isn’t even a moment to feel happy for the couple as finding out this information rocks me to my very core. You’re telling me if I take a trip to NYC and sleep with someone who works at a publishing house, I, too, could be hired with zero experience?
I can’t talk. Currently booking a plane ticket.
Despite the negativity about the film, it does contain the best thing 2023 has given us so far (besides that iconic, unsettling Ariana DeBose rap): a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend reunion! The power of Aline Brosh McKenna knows no bounds. For that, I am eternally grateful.
Your Place or Mine isn’t the worst romantic comedy I’ve ever seen, but it’s nowhere near the best of even Aline Brosh McKenna’s catalog. Counting the minutes until the movie ends is no way to watch anything, especially a movie that should impact you.
I’d rather stay in bed.