Many have been angry about Netflix’s proposed new password policies. However, it might be a blessing in disguise, saving viewers from mediocre content, such as the rom-com Your Place or Mine, starring Reese Witherspoon as Debbie Dunn and Ashton Kutcher as Peter Coleman.
The plot follows the two, who have been friends for 20 years. After a one-night stand, Peter says he couldn’t be in a relationship because he is an “unknowable piece of shit.”
With all due respect to the writers — what does that even mean?
Beyond that, the film spends the first half-hour emphasizing how different Debbie and Peter’s lives are — how Debbie is “practical” and “realistic” while Peter is allergic to permanency and emotions.
The friends’ lives further intertwine when Debbie plans to take college classes in New York, where Peter lives. But when her babysitter unexpectedly bails, Peter offers to fly to Debbie’s home in Los Angeles and watch her son, Jack, while Debbie stays at Peter’s home in New York.
In New York, Debbie meets Peter’s ex, Minka, played by Zoë Chao.
Minka is the best part of the film, a spunky, funny and sweet woman who understands Peter and Debbie more than they understand themselves. She also isn’t tokenized as an Asian American woman. In fact, the movie doesn’t even mention her race because it isn’t significant to her character.
Other than Minka, the movie is just … bland. Jack is having problems at school, so Peter tries to fix them with money and allows him to try out for the hockey team without his mom’s permission.
Debbie is a woman in her late 30s to early 40s with teenage traits, and she’s also a people person in the middle of the city. She goes so far as to greet a random mother walking around with a baby in a stroller and show her being the quirky girl in her accounting course — proclaiming her love for school supplies while sniffing a pencil.
When Peter and Debbie first met, he planned to become a writer, so when Minka tells Debbie about the manuscript Peter has been hiding in his oven, Debbie decides to give it to publisher Theo Martin, played by Jesse Williams.
This is how Peter and Debbie, who swear on telling each other everything, realize this isn’t true. Rather than having a conversation about it, they avoid the issue, talk in circles and seem to have no emotions. There are no feelings of betrayal, rage or sadness.
Personally, if I found out my best friend was keeping a massive secret from me, I would be sad, wondering what I might have done that kept them from telling me.
Instead, they just move on. Debbie goes on a date with Theo and sleeps with him. Peter finds out because of a camera in his apartment. He tries to go out and sleep with someone else, but can’t.
Peter confesses to his friend, Alicia, played by Tig Notaro, that he has been in love with Debbie, and left Los Angeles because she became pregnant with another man’s child. Back in New York, Debbie takes her final exam — which she seemingly did not study for at all but did not fail?
Debbie eventually comes home and finds Peter’s envelope of mementos, all memories of the two of them. This should be a meaningful moment, a callback to the beginning of the film, where Peter says he hates mementos, but it just feels immature.
They’ve been friends for 20 years, and somehow neither of them could admit they are in love with each other? It’s something out of a Wattpad story, and that’s not a compliment.
Debbie doesn’t seem like her own person, which is part of what leaves this movie feeling so empty.
The film shoves Debbie into this box of just being a mom. Every decision she makes is because of her son: She hasn’t had sex in a long time because of him, she hasn’t pursued her dreams because of him and she feels like she has to protect him from the world. Netflix needs to move away from this stereotypical description of a mother.
Debbie tells Theo — who has gotten her an interview with a publishing company — that she can’t date him and rushes back to Los Angeles. When she gets there, Peter is leaving at the same time, and they run into each other at the airport.
Instead of talking through their issues privately, they start screaming at each other. Debbie tells Peter he is, in fact, a piece of shit, but then takes it back minutes later and then, obviously, they have to start making out in the middle of the airport.
But even as the credits begin to roll, and the epilogue text plays, there is still no romantic chemistry between Debbie and Peter. Watching them stand awkwardly beside each other in Debbie’s house doesn’t give any impression of a relationship.
The movie isn’t bad, but it really isn’t good. With the star power of Witherspoon and Kutcher, it had so much potential that was turned into nothingness.