Review: Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher swap homes in gimmicky ‘Your Place or Mine’

A woman and a young boy look at a laptop in the kitchen.
Wesley Kimmel and Reese Witherspoon in the movie “Your Place or Mine.”
(Erin Simkin / Netflix)

‘Your Place or Mine’

In writer-director Aline Brosh McKenna’s gimmicky-but-mostly-likable romantic comedy “Your Place or Mine,” Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher play long-distance friends who unexpectedly have life-changing experiences when extenuating circumstances cause them to swap homes for a while. Witherspoon stars as Debbie, a divorced Los Angeles mom whose son Jack (Wesley Kimmel) is a sickly nervous wreck. Ashton Kutcher plays Peter, a commitment-phobic New York business guru who’d rather be a novelist. When Debbie has urgent business in New York City, Peter flies to L.A. to watch Jack.

After some clumsy setup, the movie starts clicking when Debbie and Peter embark on poorly thought-out missions to fix the biggest problems in each other’s lives. In the process, as they spend time with each others’ friends and neighbors (played by Zoë Chao, Steve Zahn and Tig Notaro, among others), they realize that maybe they don’t know each other as well as they thought. They also wonder if, after over 20 years of platonic friendship, they should couple up.

For Netflix’s ‘Your Place or Mine,’ Ashton Kutcher and Reese Witherspoon play love interests, but their red carpet photos didn’t make that too clear.

Feb. 8, 2023

McKenna, who wrote the screenplay adaptation of “The Devil Wears Prada,” is perhaps best-known for co-creating the TV series “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” with Rachel Bloom (who has a small cameo here). Frankly, “Your Place or Mine” feels a little TV-ish. Many scenes ramble on with no sense of urgency; and the film is stuffed with colorful side characters who each seem to be awaiting their own special episode. There’s even an extended subplot, as Debbie is courted by a kindly book editor (Jesse Williams), with whom she has a lot in common.


What saves the picture is McKenna’s knack for finding something real and relatable within quirky comic characters like a hyper-organized overprotective mother and a swaggering cool guy who makes a living telling other people how to succeed. Here, the kernel of truth is that even best friends present facades to each other, keeping feelings and experiences hidden. Forget that old saying about walking a mile in another person’s shoes. To really get to know someone, move into their house.

‘Your Place or Mine.’ PG-13, for suggestive material and brief strong language. 1 hour, 49 minutes. Available on Netflix; also playing theatrically, Bay Theater, Pacific Palisades

A man and woman hold hands while looking into each other's eyes.
Jay Ellis and Alison Brie in the movie “Somebody I Used to Know.”
(Scott Patrick Green / Prime Video)

‘Somebody I Used to Know’

Writer-director Dave Franco and his co-writer/star Alison Brie subvert some hoary rom-com conventions in “Somebody I Used to Know,” a well-meaning dramedy with a great cast and admirable ambitions — but which never quite finds a good groove. Brie plays Ally, a reality TV producer who copes with a career setback by heading to her small hometown in the Pacific Northwest, where she reconnects with her ex-boyfriend Sean (Jay Ellis) and his younger fiancee Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons). This sounds like the setup for a Hallmark-style “the simple life is the best life” story. But Ally is actually torn between returning to her past and warning the hip, likable Cassidy — who reminds her of herself 10 years ago — not to settle for less than what she deserves.

Franco and Brie deserve credit for consciously critiquing romance formulas by writing a movie where no one is an out-and-out villain and everyone’s behavior stays rooted in reality. They surround their leads with some comfortingly familiar faces too, including Haley Joel Osment and Brie’s old “Community” cast-mate Danny Pudi. But they haven’t come up with enough to replace the silly humor and shameless emotional manipulations of a traditional rom-com. There are jokes here, and dramatic moments too; but everyone is so darn earnest all the time that nothing truly exciting happens. Instead, we just hang out with some pretty decent folks for a while, and then the credits roll.

‘Somebody I Used to Know.’ R, for sexual content, graphic nudity, language throughout and brief drug use. 1 hour, 45 minutes. Available on Prime Video

Two women hug while seated on a bed.
Josephine Park, left, and Ellie Kendrick in the movie “Attachment.”


Early in writer-director Gabriel Bier Gislason’s offbeat horror-romance “Attachment,” Maja (Josephine Park) and Leah (Ellie Kendrick) enjoy a classic meet-cute. Maja, a fading Danish TV star, takes a gig reading to kids at a public library where she accidentally swaps her picture-book with British university student Leah’s dry textbook. The ladies laugh, flirt, have a drink together, then fall into bed. Two days later, Maja impulsively moves into the London house that Leah shares with her Danish immigrant mother, Chana (Sofie Gråbøl). That’s when she finds out her new girlfriend may be possessed by a dybbuk.

Gislason balances multiple genres here, and not always deftly. The movie works best as a whirlwind love story, where Maja’s passion for Leah is so strong that she endures a strange new culture, a disapproving Chana, and all manner of creepy paranormal phenomena to stay by her lover’s side. When “Attachment” becomes more of a full-blown possession thriller in its final third, it loses the lighthearted charm and keen observation of its earlier sections. Still, that first hour is so sweet that the comparatively sour parts don’t spoil the picture. It’s just so rare for a movie to present a fully fleshed-out story of a relationship — especially when it’s ultimately about the demon set to rip it all apart.

‘Attachment.’ In Danish and English with subtitles. Not rated. 1 hour, 45 minutes. Available on Shudder


It takes a while to adjust to the tone of writer-director Corey Deshon’s “Daughter,” a psychodrama about a hyper-controlling patriarch called Father (Casper Van Dien), who abducts a young Vietnamese American woman he calls Daughter (Vivien Ngô). Father subjects Daughter to various torments until she learns to fit in with Mother (Elyse Dinh) and Brother (Ian Alexander), who are also being held against their will, for hazy reasons. Because everyone’s behavior is either artificial or abrasively aggressive, it can be hard to find a way into this film.

But Deshon sticks with his plan — which also includes a grainy 16mm look and precisely composed frames, devoid of clutter — and by the movie’s second half he gets where he intends to go. After Daughter calms down enough to join the family, she realizes that being “good” means more than just adopting a docile, pleasant attitude. She’s also supposed to accept and parrot Father’s warped worldview. There are clear metaphorical implications here, illustrating a life lived under authoritarian rule. Once “Daughter” establishes that as a milieu, it becomes more gripping, as our heroine tries to figure out how to use Father’s own rules to her advantage and loosen his grip. The symbolism remains heavy, but it’s all in service of a powerful prisoner’s story, about the small ways people find freedom.


‘Daughter.’ Not rated. 1 hour, 35 minutes. Available on VOD

‘Nothing Lasts Forever’

When people debate the ethics of the diamond business, they generally talk about where the gems were mined and who benefits from their sale — whether or not they’re “blood diamonds,” in other words. Jason Kohn’s revealing and entertaining documentary “Nothing Lasts Forever” frames the issue differently, making two surprising points: that diamonds aren’t as rare or precious as jewelry marketing would have consumers believe; and that synthetic diamonds, almost indistinguishable from the natural kind, have been mixed into the world’s supply so widely that many people will never know whether their diamonds are “real.”

Kohn is a presence in his own film, heard often from behind the camera asking blunt questions of his interview subjects who are nearly all major players in the industry. His voice is never intrusive or distracting; instead it has the effect of making the interviews feel more conversational, and thus more honest. Formally, “Nothing Lasts Forever” is pretty square, relying on a rapid-fire assembly of news footage and a nearly wall-to-wall musical score. But Kohn’s talking heads are remarkably animated and, collectively, the interviews present a provocative debate about the meaning of “valuable.” As the jewelry designer Aja Raden insightfully notes about the proliferation of lab-grown gems, “If I don’t know the difference, the difference doesn’t exist.”

‘Nothing Lasts Forever.’ TV-14, for adult language. 1 hour, 27 minutes. Available on Showtime

‘Seriously Red’

The curious subculture of celebrity impersonators takes center stage in director Gracie Otto’s “Seriously Red,” a loopy Australian comedy that doesn’t do enough with its premise despite a winning lead performance. Krew Boylan (who also wrote the screenplay) plays Red, a so-so realtor who converts her lifelong love of Dolly Parton into a new career when a booking agent sees her impression and thinks she’d make a great partner to an ersatz Kenny Rogers (Daniel Webber). Otto and Boylan initially play this scenario for laughs, with the bumbling Red repeatedly embarrassing herself. The movie then turns overly maudlin once Red realizes a lot of her friends in the impersonation community — herself included — are hiding from something. Still, even at its bluntest, “Seriously Red” draws a lot of heat and light from Boylan, whose Red enjoys embodying the casual confidence, folksy wisdom and bombshell bravura of one of the world’s most beloved entertainers.

‘Seriously Red.’ R, for sexual content, nudity and some language. 1 hour, 38 minutes. Available on VOD; also playing theatrically, Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood and Harkins Chino Hills


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