LONDON: If any streaming service has the clout to reinvigorate the ailing rom-com genre, it is probably Netflix. After all, the US giant carved out quite a feel-good niche for itself come Christmas time, and its star-studded roster of Hollywood names is second to none.
Take, for example, “Your Place or Mine” v a gentle, inoffensive teaming up of rom-com veteran Reese Witherspoon (who also produces) and Ashton Kutcher as Debbie and Peter. The pair are best friends who — gasp — may actually both be harboring feelings for one another, if only they were brave enough to come out and say it.
When a contrived tangle of plotlines leads to Peter travelling to Los Angeles to look after Debbie’s son, while she jets off to his swanky apartment in New York, the scene is set for an hour or so of near misses, romantic double speak, and a slew of not-so-surprising surprises. Which is about what you would expect from a so-so rom-com.
But what really twists the knife here is that “Your Place or Mine” is the directorial debut of Aline Brosh McKenna (writer of “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Morning Glory”), yet boats none of the smart, self-aware sass you might therefore expect. Rather, the movie goes through the motions like any other predictably flimsy sapfest. The only thing the film has going for it are some smirk-worthy performances from a supporting cast that includes Zoë Chao, Steve Zahn and Tig Notaro.
Witherspoon and Kutcher have little of the chemistry needed to power a movie like this, which is not a massive surprise as they are only on screen together a handful of times. Rather, they are painted as lazy stereotypes (her, the anxious, overprotective mother who gave up on her creative dreams and him, the womanizing playboy who overcompensates for his fear of rejection), bashed together until we are meant to believe in the inevitability of their happy ending. We are not buying it, this time.