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Columns Eleanor Ringel Cater

‘Your Place or Mine” – an affectionate rom-com starring Witherspoon and Kutcher

A scene from "Your Place or Mine"

By Eleanor Ringel Cater

I was trying to do the right thing, i.e., find a rom-com to review for Valentine’s Day. The choice narrowed down to “Somebody I Used to Know,” starring Alison Brie and Jay Ellis, and “Your Place or Mine,” with Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher.

I went with the former because of a brain blip. Namely, I got Allison Brie and Brie Larson mixed up. How bad could something with an Oscar winner (“Room”) as well as a card-carrying member of the MCU (“Captain Marvel”) be? But, um, that’s Brie Larson.

So over to “Your Place or Mine” which was not much, but not bad either.

Movie poster of “Your Place or Mine”

The title comes from the premise, which mixes “The Holiday” with “When Harry Met Sally.” Debbie (Witherspoon) and Peter (Kutcher) tried hooking up 20 years ago (You can tell, the semi-cheeky screenplay tells us, by the layers of clothing, the trucker hat, the wallet chain). They decided instead to be BFF’s, checking in daily even though they live on different coasts and have very different lives.

She’s a protective single mom with a 13-year-old son, Jack (Wesley Kimmel, Jimmy’s nephew). They live in a quaintly cluttered cottage near L.A.

He’s a single guy with a knack for relationships that tend to expire after six months. Not exactly a slick womanizer, more like a serial monogamist, he has a sleek but soulless place in Brooklyn with a spectacular view of the Manhattan Bridge.

They swap places when she needs to come east for a week-long accounting course. Her baby-sitting strategy falls through (Good joke: her designated sitter gets a role in a horror flick where her Big Break is being strangled by the star) and he offers to come west to watch Jack.

Each brings some vestiges of their regular lives with them, i.e., he rents a Porsche convertible, and she wears jean skirts, even in Manhattan. More importantly, they learn things they didn’t know about their BFF and stretch themselves beyond their usual parameters. For him, that means becoming a pretty good surrogate dad. For her, that means discovering both her sexual self and an unpublished manuscript he’s kept stashed away in his unused oven.

A scene from “Your Place or Mine”

Like most romantic comedies, “Your Place or Mine” depends on certain contrivances and a willing suspension of disbelief. Writer/director Aline Brosh McKenna, whose best-known work is probably her script for “The Devil Wears Prada,” manages both, but only barely.

What really works here is the glam likability of the two stars. Not chemistry – the pair aren’t even on the same coast until the very end – but an agreed-upon sense that someone like Witherspoon and someone like Kutcher somehow belong together.

It also helps that they’re surrounded by a congenial supporting cast that ranges from Steve Zahn to Tig Notaro.  “Your Place or Mine” may not qualify as a find, but it’s agreeable and affectionate and these days, that counts for a lot.

“Your Place or Mine,” a 2023 romantic comedy, is available on Netflix.

Eleanor Ringel

Eleanor Ringel, Movie Critic, was the film critic for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for almost 30 years. She was nominated multiple times for a Pulitzer Prize. She won the Best of Cox Critic, IMAGE Film & Video and Women In Film awards. An Atlanta native, she graduated from Westminster and Brown University. She was the critic on WXIA’s Noonday, a member of Entertainment Weekly's Critics Grid and wrote TV Guide’s movie/DVD. She is member of the National Society of Film Critics and currently talks about movies on WMLB and writes the Time Out column for the Atlanta Business Chronicle.


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1 Comment

  1. Decker C February 13, 2023 1:24 pm

    Pretty disrespectful to Alison Brie who’s as good an actor as anyone mentioned in this piece. Her new movie is also much better than this drivel.Report


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