The romantic comedy genre has been sleeping for around ten years, but it is already time we resurrect it. 2022 already showed us that audiences worldwide are ready to flip the script when it comes to the kinds of movies we were getting, with Everything Everywhere All at Once becoming one of the most talked-about movies of the year, and straightforward classic action movies like Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water topping the box office. Netflix’s Your Place or Mine doesn’t push the art form forward as those movies did, but it is the lighthearted, easy-watch that audiences looking for an escape will appreciate this Valentine’s Day.
Your Place or Mine Synopsis
The first time we meet our protagonists is during Your Place or Mine’s opening scene, they are in their 20s and about to hook up. They are Debbie (Reese Witherspoon) and Peter (Ashton Kutcher), and as we cut 20 years forward in time, we see they are still inseparable. Except for one thing, of course — they are 2,500 miles apart. Debbie has established her own life in L.A., raising by herself a 13-year-old son named Jack (Wesley Kimmel) and struggling with her current job. Peter, however, is living the life many except him would dream of — living in New York, he swaps girlfriends every six months and has a money-making job that keeps him satisfied, for the most part.
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An opportunity comes for Debbie to go spend a week in New York to finalize her master’s degree that could give her the Senior Accountant position she’s been chasing, and also spend a few days with her best friend. However, in good Hollywood fashion, her babysitter had to cancel on her due to scheduling conflicts; but worry not, because Peter is on the rescue. After splitting up with his latest girlfriend and his most recent clients, he has some time to kill, so he pitches a place-swap comedy where they would live in each other’s apartments for a week. And doing so, they will finally realize what they’ve been feeling for each other all of these years.
Your Place or Mine thoughts and its place inside the rom-com landscape
Romantic comedies in general might be full of tropes and unrealistic scenarios, but so are movies from every other genre. Exaggerated scenarios in rom-coms might feel odd to the average viewer because they are about one of the few experiences in life everyone in the audience goes through, and we all know life is not as easy as these films lay it out to be. But what if it were? We love spending time in worlds full of superheroes, planets filled with blue aliens that hate humans as much as we do, or space operas with ships traveling at lightspeed (something that would give Albert Einstein a heart attack).
Your Place or Mine requires the viewer to be in the shoes of other people as they explore the most fundamental piece of life — human connections.
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Witherspoon shines in what is probably her best role in years outside of The Morning Show and Big Little Lies, and it’s clear that this film came from a desire to enjoy herself on set and not have to worry about complicated characters that would require months of preparation to get the subtle details of her performance just right. She already does that in Apple’s excellent show. On her trip to New York, where she will meet Peter’s ex-ex-girlfriend (Zoë Chao), she will learn to realize that she also has the time and will to care for someone else other than Jack, once she starts digging through Peter’s apartment and finds a few harmless secrets he’s been hiding from her.
Kutcher has been missing from the big Hollywood picture over the past few years, and while this is not a performance that will put him on the map, he’s as charming and delightful as his character requires him to be. In his relationship dynamics with Debbie, the film hints early on that he might have some feelings for her best friend, so for him, the trip to L.A. is all about realizing he could be a good stepdad to her son. And he conveys that — his chemistry with Kimmel is quite solid, and we can easily see future discussions between him and Debbie over what to do in different parenting situations.
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Aline Brosh McKenna wrote and directed a sweet, full-of-joy, and overall enchanting film that does not lack plot holes or genre tropes and clichés, but that instead asks the viewer to put their lives aside for an easy 110-minute watch and just enjoy a piece of entertainment that will ultimately make us feel better about ourselves. Your Place or Mine will not be a groundbreaking, genre-transcending film like, say, 500 Days of Summer, but it is just the story we need this Valentine’s Day, and between it and last year’s Marry Me, we might be onto something with the resurgence of these type of films.
These past few years have been tough on all of us, and we deserve a story like this. Even if by next week we’ll have forgotten about it.
If you are looking for a movie this weekend to celebrate Valentine’s Day and you don’t want to leave the house to see Magic Mike 3, Your Place or Mine, currently streaming on Netflix, is exactly what you’re looking for.
About Your Place or Mine
RELEASE DATE: February 10, 2023, exclusively on Netflix
DIRECTOR: Aline Brosh McKenna
WRITER: Aline Brosh McKenna
PRODUCERS: Jason Bateman, Michael Costigan, Reese Witherspoon, Lauren Neustadter, Aline Brosh McKenna
CAST: Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher, Jesse Williams, Zoë Chao, Wesley Kimmel, Griffin Matthews, Rachel Bloom, Shiri Appleby, Vella Lovell, with Tig Notaro and Steve Zahn
Debbie and Peter are best friends and total opposites. She craves routine with her son in LA; he thrives on change in NY. When they swap houses and lives for a week they discover what they think they want might not be what they really need.
What do you think of Your Place or Mine? Are you a rom-com person? Which movies make your top 3 rom-coms? Make sure to let us know on our social media!
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