Sigh. While this one wasn’t on my schedule for this week, I feel compelled to provide readers with up to the moment reporting from the scene of a recent artistic disaster that may well affect us all; the Reese Witherspoon/Ashton Kutcher rom-com Your Place or Mine, currently the number one film on Netflix worldwide and forever to be known as That Weird Film We Saw on Valentine’s Day 2023. Sure, any old romantic slush can be pressed into service on a commercially orientated celebration of love, but Aline Brosh McKenna’s film is an active crime scene that should be swiftly reported to deter the unwary.
Your Place or Mine? unwisely takes on a difficult narrative structure, one which will be familiar to fans of Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle. The two central characters, Debbie Dunn and Peter Coleman, don’t meet until the final scene, other than some internet and phone interaction. Keeping your leads seperate for the entire movie is a hard thing to pull off, and Your Place or Mine? abjectly fails to make an ambitious conceit fly despite constant snarky captions and split-screen garnish. Debbie (Witherspoon) had a fling with Peter two decades ago, but since then, they’ve become firm friends, even if he’s a high-flying something in NYC and she’s in LA, where her son (not his) goes to school. Peter and Debbie decide to swap homes for a week, leaving Peter to bring Debbie’s son Jack out of his shell and into the dangerous world of ice-hockey, despite her qualms. Debbie finds a manuscript of Peter’s and forces her way into the life of the head of a publishing company to get him to read it, but the duo’s well-meant interference in each other’s lives leads to direct conflict…
Is it cool for the male head of a publishing house to sleep with female strangers who make business propositions to them, then set them up with jobs at rival agencies? Your Place or Mine? seems to think this is not a problem, so lazer-focused the project seems to be on Peter and Debbie. It seems to be an on-going writers fantasy that someone else should champion your forgotten manuscript, but it’s completely out of character for both Debbie and Peter for this odd scenario to unfold. Witherspoon is the latest star to seem considerably diminished by getting shrunk to streaming; she’s a big star with her own style, but it’s coming up on a decade since she’s done a film that’s much good, and Your Place or Mine? is her worst since Home Again or Hot Pursuit. With awful patter like “let’s blow this popsicle stand…’ Kutcher looks notably different here; he’s been on a run of awfulness since The Butterfly Effect, and that run continues with a rather slapdash character; there’s zero evidence that he could write an milkman’s note never mind a great novel. Peter’s sole cultural reference, a proud boast that he saw The Hunt for Red October in the same theatre eight times, doesn’t really suggest he could be the next Jonathan Franzen. Meanhile proper comic performers like Steve Zahn and Tig Notaro noodle around in the background with little to do on artificial-looking green-screen locations.
Your Place or Mine? at least does have a good final scene, but it should have taken place 15 mins into the film and giving the characters a springboard to a good story rather than the sore lack of conflict that their separation causes. To be positive, it’s nice to hear The Cars’ Heatbeat City again, even if the whole album feels a bit much, and also lovely to see some actual location footage, Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights is one of the world’s most beautiful streets, but even that’s not enough to raise this muck beyond the level of the blandly mediocre. Your Place or Mine? …actually, I’ll take a rain check, I think I’m staying in and washing my hair, I’ve got a headache coming on…
I’ve been away from the inter-webs a few days so time to catch up.
I saw that Reese was making a rom-com, but I just had a feeling I shouldn’t get my hopes up.
I’m disappointed but not surprised.
Can’t see her with Kutcher.
Also can’t see her as a character named Debbie. (not sure why)
Unclear why they can’t give her meaty Big Little Lies type roles on the big screen, but that’s a rant I’ve made many times before 🙂
I’m certainly a fan of Witherspoon, but her output is getting a little sketchy. This one doesn’t quite work,and a rom com in which the couple only meet in the final scene is sacred ground…right?
If you’re going to have the moxie to take that plotline on, you’ve got to knock it out of the park…..
And if the rumors are true that she’s making a Legally Blonde 3, I can’t imagine that will enhance her oeuvre……
Not if Legally Blonde 2 was any indication…
I like Reese Witherspoon so I was hoping this one would be good. I don’t see the appeal of keeping the leads separated the whole movie. Sleepless in Seattle should be the exception, not a starting point. I’ll skip this one.
Is the correct answer. Reese is great, but this isn’t one of her best for the reasons you suggest.
Kutcher is a goober.
And feel free to quote that…
What actually is a goober? I thought it was a fish.
In American vernacular, a dumb bozo, a hick, a flaming idiot.
A goober is a peanut!!
Hence my use of the word “vernacular”
Exhibit Number One:
I rode one of them in Barcelona.
They have goober rodeos in Spain?
Perhaps. My answer is out of context.
Ah. I was wondering about that 🙂
It’s like a train that goes up a steep hill.
Peanuts, idiots or that funny thing you mentioned before? I’m kind of lost at the moment…
I just spent 5 minutes trying to work this out and I’m still lost too. I’m gonna keep thinking a goober is a fish, things were OK back then.
Sorry, that was a funicular.
Not for me though now I’ve watched the trailer I’m guessing she ends up with Kutcher and not Mr.Blue-Eyes.
Is the correct answer.
You could have watched The Munsters.
What was it like?
Hilarious House of Frightenstein, the Movie.
Can I use that as a pull quote for the poster?
‘Hilarious’ -Alex Good.
Sure. It needs all the help it can get.
‘Film of the Year: The Munsters; ‘very nearly reinventing the language of film, unlocking the medium’s often dormant potential to disclose inner worlds of consciousness and feeling.”Alex Good
Are we talking Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster & Yvonne De Carlo as Lily Munster? Class!
Alas, no. Rob Zombie’s 2022 mess.
I have no pizza at my place, so I guess the choice is obvious!
Your order is in the queue, have a complimentary drink while you wait…