Friday, February 10, 2023

Your Place or Mine: Movie Review

Exactly as expected, but the characters are funny and enjoyable.
Friends becomes more than friends romantic comedy. Your Place or Mine is nothing you haven’t seen before, but the characters are all cute and witty and not a bad way to spend two hours. It’s funny without being immature, centers on the lives of the characters rather than romance or plot. It’s lightweight, charming enough, even if it is a little staid and unfocused.   2023

Directed by: Aline Brosh McKenna

Screenplay by: Aline Brosh McKenna

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher

Almost two decades ago, Debbie (Reese Witherspoon) was an aspiring writer with a job and her own apartment. A put together thirty year-old. Peter (Ashton Kutcher) was a not put together almost thirty year-old. He also thought about being a writer but was your typical immature male at that age. They had a one-night stand which turned into a long-distance friendship.

Now, Debbie is a divorced single mom in LA, has a job at a school but it’s not enough to raise a son on; and Peter is a rich successful business manager in New York with a long string of past flings. They talk all the time, and while their lives have gone in opposite directions, they would have crossed right about the time that Debbie was with her ex-husband a supposedly mature stable guy who turned out not to be that. Debbie is now attending a week-long course in New York to try and further her career; Peter agrees to fly to LA to stay with her son for a week.

Writer and director Aline Brosh McKenna is best known for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and writing 27 Dresses and The Devil Wears Prada. Debbie and Peter have really enjoyable banter and there’s enough humour and wit in the dialogue to keep watching. The plot is very tried-and-true and the characters aren’t particularly fresh or new, but the back-and-forth between every single character including both the leads and the supporting characters (many of whom are familiar faces) is funny and entertaining.

Tig Notaro plays Debbie’s friend in LA who becomes Peter’s friend while he’s there and her signature dry wit is a really nice and funny balance to Witherspoon’s more famous sunshine persona. Rachel Bloom has two quick scenes as a (really terrible) wannabe actress, and Steve Zaun plays Zen, a hippie gardener who lives in Debbie’s yard as he attempts to become more than friends with her, much to Peter’s chagrin.

Meanwhile in New York, Debbie’s attempts to attend class don’t go as planned and instead meets a really, really hot Theo (Jesse Williams), a book publisher that Debbie (and the audience) can’t help falling in love with. We all know which guy she ends up with, but I do wish the movie could have at least pretended it was a more difficult decision.

Most of the plot is exactly as expected. Debbie is an over-protective mom, Peter helps son Jack out of his comfort zone, and then while they’re briefly in the other person’s life (ie, home) realize their true feelings for one another. The almost two-hour run-time doesn’t feel as long because the characters are enjoyable. They are all cute and funny and deliver a nice and comfortable movie.

The highly publicized lack of physical comedy between Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher doesn’t matter since they barely have any scenes together. They can both handle the dialogue just fine and that’s where the movie shines.