Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher’s Netflix Rom-Com Isn’t Focused on the Romance...and That’s Why It’s So Good

Fans of The Holiday will find familiarity in the premise of Netflix's Your Place or Mine. The new movie follows best friends Debbie (Reese Witherspoon) and Peter (Ashton Kutcher), who swap houses for a week and live in each other's worlds because Debbie wants to fulfill her dream of taking classes in New York, so Peter flies to Los Angeles to care for Debbie's son, Jack.

Your Place or Mine has been one of Netflix's most anticipated films of 2023, not only because it unites two of Hollywood's beloved stars, but also because it boasts a screenplay from Aline Brosh McKenna, who has penned rom-com faves like The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses and Morning Glory (oh, and this film acts as McKenna's directorial debut).

So, the question remains: Does Your Place or Mine hold up next to McKenna's classics? In the end, it certainly does, but not for the reasons you might think. While Debbie and Peter's romance may have been advertised as the central aspect of the story, it's actually not at all...but this turns out to be a good thing. Keep reading for our full review.

Upon hearing the premise of Your Place or Mine, you might think: “How can these two fall in love if they're across the country from one another?” Well, that's a fair question, but the film reveals that Debbie and Peter have actually been best friends for two decades and their relationship started with a fling in 2003. However, this fling resulted in Peter “bailing” (as Debbie puts it, but we later discover it was more complicated), and Debbie ends up marrying someone else (who she divorces). So, the two simply remained good friends...until now.

Throughout the film, their dynamic is mostly presented with split-screen phone calls, with McKenna having noted that she was inspired by the 1959 classic Pillow Talk. But while we can see the playful relationship between Kutcher and Witherspoon's characters, Your Place differs from Pillow Talk in that the pair's conversations comprise a small portion of the film, and it's really their individual journeys that make up the crux of the story.

Still from 'Your Place or Mine.'

One thing that feels consistent in McKenna's screenplays is that the lead women are not solely focused on romantic love, but rather, all of their complex relationships. Take the Devil Wears Prada, where we watch as Andy tries to navigate her career, friendships and relationships (even though her boyfriend was an unsupportive jerk, but that's a conversation for a different time). How about 27 Dresses? One could argue that the central relationship is actually between Jane and her sister, and not any of the men that Jane desires.

If you think about it, McKenna's movies are likely so adored because her characters are trying to figure themselves out first. And this same theory applies to Your Place or Mine.

In it, Witherspoon plays a figure akin to what we saw her portray in Big Little Lies—a details-focused, somewhat overbearing mother who is only trying to do her best. But while we learn that Debbie often pushes her dreams aside in order to care for her son, Your Place or Mine sees her finally chasing after those goals. Meanwhile, Peter evolves in his own ways, discovering an inner nurturing side as he cares for Debbie's son, while also realizing that he's run away from too many things in his life (including his affection for Debbie).

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Erin Simkin/Netflix

Not only is it rewarding to see these two grow individually, but they develop unique friendships along the way, too. In New York, Debbie quickly befriends one of Peter's ex-girlfriends, Minka (played by The Afterparty's Zoë Chao), who delivers one uproarious one-liner after another (“This place is so old school...I smell dead people”). Meanwhile, there's a wonderful repartee between Peter and Debbie's deadpan pal, Alicia (Tig Notaro), as well. (Other notable stars include Jesse Williams, Steve Zahn and Shiri Appleby, just to name a few.)

If there's one complaint about Your Place or Mine, it's that the movie has a somewhat long running time—let's keep the rom-coms to a sweet 90 minutes, people! That aside, in a film where our two leads may not often share the same room, we watch as they come to care more for each other while they're miles apart. And in that way, the film truly succeeds.

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Erin Simkin/Netflix

PureWow Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Aline Brosh McKenna pens another winning rom-com, which boasts strong female characters, richly-developed dynamics and jokes-a-plenty. Sure, the running time could've been cut down a *bit* and we don't get a ton of time with our leads sharing the screen, but Your Place or Mine wants us to trust that these characters have built a relationship over the years and they need to discover themselves before they can fall into each others' arms. It's a refreshing concept.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...