Greenwich Time

Reese Witherspoo­n and Ashton Kutcher shine in a rom-com


If you decide to settle in and watch “Your Place or Mine” to see the sparks fly between Reese Witherspoo­n and Ashton Kutcher, you’ll be initially disappoint­ed. They’re not in the same room until the last 12 minutes.

The premise of this particular Netflix rom-com is two old friends switching homes for a week and snapping each other out of their ruts. Might they also fall in love? (Do many rom-coms not end that way?)

In this one, Witherspoo­n and Kutcher play opposites — he’s a rich consultant who lives in a chic but chilly New York apartment; she’s an earthy and protective single mom to a 13-year-old boy in Los Angeles. They hooked up 20 years ago but decided friendship was the better path.

These two talk every day, forcing the filmmakers to spend a fortune on split screens. It’s an intimate relationsh­ip over two decades as each supports and encourages the other. Someone asks him the obvious question — “If you like each other so much, why aren’t you guys together?” — and there is no really good answer. She offers another: “Uh, barf.”

A last-minute emergency triggers the film’s central action: Witherspoo­n needs to fly to New York but her childcare main option flakes, so Kutcher’s character decides to go to Los Angeles as backup. “You need help and I’m coming,” he tells her. They find themselves in each other’s homes, getting to know each others’ friends and generally shaking things up.

Written and directed by Aline Brosh McKenna, “Your Place or Mine” is cute and light from a creator known more for satires like “Devil Wears Prada” and “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” This Valentine’s Day, it hits the spot if you’re in the mood for pretty people acting insecure and clueless.

At first, though, the film meanders with an alarming lack of urgency, as if Brosh McKenna was happy enough just filling the screen with her two beautiful leads and putting them in pretty places. You might initially mistake it as a rom-com for real estate.

The film builds to — finally! — a scene when Witherspoo­n and Kutcher are in the same zip code and a nice flipping of the traditiona­l rom-com airport scene on its head. That’s when the film answers the question can men and women just be friends with a strong: “Uh, barf.”

“Your Place or Mine,” a Netflix release, is rated PG-13 for “suggestive material and brief strong language.”

 ?? Associated Press ?? Reese Witherspoo­n and Ashton Kutcher in a scene from “Your Place or Mine.”
Associated Press Reese Witherspoo­n and Ashton Kutcher in a scene from “Your Place or Mine.”

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