‘Your Place Or Mine’ Is A Cozy Rom-Com With Chemistry-Less Leads – Film Review


Fortunately, Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher have more chemistry and charisma in Netflix’s Your Place or Mine than in the awkward photos they snapped promoting it—but their sexual chemistry is another story. It’s odd to see a romantic comedy with little sexual chemistry between its leads. However, it’s an apt topic with current Twitter discourse resulting in Gen Z being nicknamed the “sexless generation” and Penn Badgley of Netflix’s You saying he reduced his sex scenes as fidelity is important in his marriage. It makes you wonder if Witherspoon and Kutcher felt similarly, especially considering Kutcher’s response to the awkward photo session was concerns about affair rumours (a shame these photos didn’t circulate as widely). 

Your Place or Mine follows Debbie (Witherspoon) and Peter (Kutcher), who hooked up after a poker game in their early 20s but decided to be friends. The film opens with a stylized prologue that tells us it’s 2003. “How can we tell?” the on-screen text asks before drawing arrows to flat-ironed hair, a wallet chain, and a Wonderbra. This doesn’t do much other than force us to notice the mise-en-scene and distract us from the fact that Witherspoon and Kutcher are in their 40s. In 2023, Debbie and Peter, who live on different coasts, have been best friends for twenty years. Circumstances cause them to swap homes and lives for a week: Debbie is going to Manhattan for an accounting course, and when her babysitter (Rachel Bloom) falls through, Peter says he will watch her 13-year-old son, Jack (Wesley Kimmel, Jimmy Kimmel’s nephew). 


Debbie and Peter maintain their friendship by talking on the phone daily, shown through split-screen, but the pair couldn’t be more different. Debbie is an overprotective single mum concerned with Jack’s many allergies and medications. Though her passion lies in books, she is seeking an accounting degree to advance her career because it’s safe and practical. On the other hand, Peter is a wealthy brand consultant who struggles with commitment but is much more relaxed in contrast to Debbie’s rules and post-it notes.

The mise-en-scene has strengths in highlighting their different personalities. Debbie’s Los Angeles cottage is colourful, warm, and homely, filled with flowers, memories, and knick-knacks. “You have all the stuff. Like, all the things that ever were and shall be, are here,” Peter tells her. While maximalism may be Debbie’s forte, for Peter, it’s the opposite. His New York apartment looks like it could belong to Patrick Bateman. It’s one of those clean, monotonous, minimalist bachelor pads where the kitchen has never been used. The cinematography is brightly-lit, emphasizing the set design and giving New York and Los Angeles that beautiful rom-com filter. 

Writer and producer Aline Brosh McKenna have written some of the best modern rom-com, including The Devil Wears Prada and 27 Dresses. Penning Your Place or Mine, which is also her directorial feature debut, the film doesn’t have a lot of tension. Much like Witherspoon’s character trying to play it safe and practical, Brosh McKenna’s script feels safe, too. Debbie and Peter do uncover secrets about one another. Still, they’re not a big deal, and the film’s ending is also rushed, with the central conflict being resolved in the five minutes Witherspoon and Kutcher are together on-screen. The film tries to explore love in a time of digital technology, and while they have a connection, it feels like Debbie and Peter realize they like each other mainly in private, making it a little hard to believe. The dialogue effectively conveys information about the plot and characters, but it doesn’t always feel natural—though there are some genuinely funny lines. 


There aren’t a lot of memorable scenes in Your Place or Mine, but all the familiar beats are there. Peter encourages Jack to do things he isn’t usually allowed to do, like try out for the hockey team and watch Alien. He also meets Debbie’s eccentric gardener/neighbour, Zen (Steve Zahn), and her friend Alicia (Tig Notaro), who offers her staple dry sense of humour. Debbie meets Peter’s ex, Minka (Zoë Chao), her complete opposite, who acts like a millennial godmother, encouraging Debbie to pursue literary editor Theo (Jesse Williams), with whom she shares a brief dalliance. Not all characters are utilized effectively, which is only highlighted further by our main characters not occupying the same space.

Your Place or Mine is a cozy, predictable rom-com, which is all it needed to be. Brosh McKenna follows the tropes all too well in a safe celebration of a beloved genre—but it depends on whether the audience believes Witherspoon and Kutcher have enough chemistry to transition from friends to lovers. Surprisingly, this is the first time the stars have worked together, considering how long they’ve both been in rom-com. It’s almost inevitable but also a little odd—especially as there is no slow burn. Maybe Debbie and Peter should just stay friends. 

Your Place or Mine is now streaming on Netflix. 

by Toni Stanger

Toni Stanger is a film and screenwriting graduate with a passion for cats, horror films and middle-aged actresses. Her favourite films include Gone Girl, Heathers, Scream and Excision. You can find her on Twitter and Letterboxd.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.