Thursday, February 16, 2023

YOUR PLACE OR MINE (zero stars)

Aline Brosh McKenna, the screenwriter of THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA and 27 DRESSES, returns to our screens with her debut directorial rom-com, YOUR PLACE OR MINE. I say rom-com, but this parlous excuse for a film is neither romantic nor comedic. There is no chemistry between the leads, Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher, and no laugh out loud moments. Even Tig Notaro can't save it. What's worse, the way in which this film deals with the real problems of school bullying and recovery from addiction, are borderline insulting.  No-one actually does any work on themselves in this film. All of life's problems can be fixed by throwing money at mean kids, and having good connections to influential businesspeople.  Maybe this is indeed Aline Brosh McKenna's experience of life. It doesn't fly with normal people.

Witherspoon plays a single mum in Los Angeles who complains about her kid's' medical costs but can apparently afford a beautiful quirky pretty house unlike anything I've ever seen in LA. She works as an accountant but is a book lover. Her best friend is Ashton Kutcher's recovering addict who lives a sleek, rich batchelor life in New York.  They house swap for a week when she needs to take some accountancy exams in New York and her babysitter bails.  He tries to fix her life by making her kid popular at school by pandering to the superficial demands of the bullies. She tries to fix his life by handing in a manuscript to a cute influential publisher she just happens to meet in a bar. It all ends happily ever after. 

The whole thing just hangs on the screen like a damp squib.  One cannot imagine Kutcher and Witherspoon actually having a relationship. They don't seem to be enjoying their time together at all. It's utterly predictable throughout.  The only reason to watch this is to hate watch it, and that's no good for anyone.

YOUR PLACE OR MINE is rated PG-13 and has a running time of 109 minutes. It's streaming on Netflix.

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