your place or mine ★★
(M) 112 minutes
OMG, the chemistry between Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher. If it were even hotter, you could boil an egg. In about 36 hours.
It is not your fault. It works on paper. Each has a large following among Gen Xers who might be ripe for some romantic nostalgia. Everyone is at home with comedy and romance. So what went wrong in this first-time pairing of two of the prettier stars of their era?
Actually, chemistry is not enough, even if there is some. The old rules still apply – structure, structure and structure. This tries to tell two stories simultaneously in two different cities, dividing the energy between Los Angeles and New York. Split stories almost never work. They break up the momentum and keep the characters apart.
This is reinforced by the characterizations. Witherspoon stars as Debbie, a single mom in LA trying to protect her son Jack (Wesley Kimmel) from all the bad things like disappointments and hockey injuries. Jack is about 13 and allergic to everything.
In New York, Peter (Kutcher) is successful at work, but not in love. He’s wealthy, which fulfills one of the basic building blocks of romcom, but he’s downtrodden, joyless, and fearful, just like her. This can be funny in a neurotic way – think Woody Allen – but not here. It’s more like Maudlin.
In the first scene, set 20 years earlier in Los Angeles, they team up. After a night of wild sex, he pushes her away because he’s not ready to commit. She falls in love with another guy and has a son, but that’s all behind her. She is now Queen Sensible. She and Peter are best friends, albeit from a distance. They tell each other everything in conversations full of cheeky dialogue, like Hollywood writers used to do. Think Hepburn and Tracy in the 1950s, but not as funny.
Aline Brosh McKenna as director doesn’t know how to make this pudding set. Debuting after a successful career as a showrunner and screenwriter (she adapted The devil Wears Prada), their direction is timid, the tempo flows like syrup. She ignores some of the film’s best assets even when the evidence is right in front of her.
https://www.smh.com.au/culture/movies/reese-witherspoon-and-ashton-kutcher-made-a-romcom-how-did-it-go-so-wrong-20230207-p5cim0.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher don’t bubble and sizzle