‘Your Place or Mine?’ finds comfort in two likable stars going through the amorous paces

Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher show terrific chemistry in a rom-com that’s predictable every step of the way, and that’s just fine.

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Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher, the stars of “Your Place or Mine?,” are seldom seen together.


Meet Debbie. She’s a single mom in Los Angeles who is overprotective of her sensitive, allergic-to-everything son, and while her passion has always been books and she’d love to be an editor, she continues to take steps to advance her career in accounting because that’s practical and safe, and Debbie is all about being practical and safe.

Meet Peter, who lives in New York and has been Debbie’s best friend for years. Peter always wanted to become a writer, but he shelved that dream to become a hot-shot business consultant. He’s also an inveterate bachelor and commitmentphobe whose relationships never last more than six months.

What about love? That doesn’t seem to be in the cards for either Debbie or Peter at this point in their lives, unless they somehow realize that what they’ve been looking for all these years HAS BEEN RIGHT THERE NEXT TO THEM ALL ALONG.

‘Your Place or Mine?’


Netflix presents a film written and directed by Aline Brosh McKenna. Rated PG-13 (for suggestive material and brief strong language). Running time: 109 minutes. Available on Netflix.

I’m not going to oversell the easygoing Netflix charmer “Your Place or Mine?” and tell you it breaks any new rules in the rom-com game. In fact, writer-director Aline Brosh McKenna (author of the scripts for “The Devil Wears Prada,” “27 Dresses” and “We Bought a Zoo”) leans into the genre with gusto, with a storyline that benefits greatly from the exceedingly likable duo of Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher, who have fabulous chemistry even though they spend very little time actually together, a la Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in “Sleepless in Seattle.”

We know exactly where this story is going every step of the way, and that’s just fine, because there’s something cozy and comforting about a good old-fashioned rom-com that is very much of its time in terms of the constant use of cellphones and FaceTiming, etc., but has a distinctly 1990s/2000s vibe.

In a prologue set 20 years ago, Peter and Debbie have a one-night hookup, but it goes nowhere. Flash forward to 2023, and they’re firmly ensconced in the Best Friend Zone, remaining close though they live on separate coasts.


California kid Jack (Wesley Kimmel) spends a week under the care of New Yorker Peter (Kutcher).


When Debbie’s babysitter falls through on the eve of her one-week trip to New York to take some sort of super-duper advanced accounting class, Peter suggests Debbie stay in his fabulous, glass-walled bachelor pad, and he’ll stay in Debbie’s messy but comfortable place in L.A. and look after Debbie’s son Jack (Wesley Kimmel, who’s terrific.) Let the misunderstandings and wacky mishaps and sitcom-type betrayals and life-changing developments begin!

Writer-director McKenna goes deep into the Rom-Com Supporting Player Handbook, as we meet a bounty of familiar types, with all the characters spectacularly well-cast. Steve Zahn plays a hippie-dippie, guitar-playing, independently wealthy goofball who lives next door to Debbie. Tig Notaro’s Alicia is a wryly funny mom who is friends with Debbie, is greatly amused by Peter’s clueless overconfidence when it comes to watching Jack. Zoë Chao’s Minka is an ex-girlfriend of Peter’s who befriends Debbie in New York and instantly becomes that supportive sidekick character who exists only to cheer on Debbie from the sidelines. Jesse Williams plays the dreamy Theo, an editor at Debbie’s favorite small publishing house who becomes a possible love interest for Debbie.

Stuff happens. Debbie discovers some big secrets about Peter, and vice versa. Peter encourages Jack to engage in all sorts of activities that would horrify Debbie, from watching “Alien” instead of doing his homework to trying out for the hockey team and eating something besides the horrific gluten-free casseroles Debbie has left stacked in the freezer. Debbie actually goes denim-free for once and considers a career change and maybe even a bigger change in her personal life.

It’s a credit to the enduring onscreen skills of Witherspoon and Kutcher that we believe in the connection between Debbie and Peter, even though the vast majority of their communications are via texts and phone calls. Peter’s favorite band just happens to be the Cars, so that means the soundtrack is peppered with catchy classics such as “Let’s Go,” “Bye Bye Love,” “Good Times Roll” and “Just What I Needed,” and that’s pretty great, and New York and L.A. have that sparkly clean, visually alluring, rom-com movie-magic look.

That’s it. That’s your movie. In some ways, it’s not much, but in the ways that count, it’s more than enough.

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