‘Your Place or Mine’ features a fresh romance

The notorious last shot of the film is the only time when the two main leads, Debbie (Reese Witherspoon) and Peter (Ashton Kutcher) are in the same scene together. In just this moment, the chemistry between the two takes the audience by storm. // Photo courtesy of Netflix

Warning: Contains spoilers

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Netflix released its newest rom-com “Your Place or Mine” on Feb. 10, 2023. The movie features a star studded cast, with the two protagonists, Debbie and Peter, being played by Reese Witherspoon (“Legally Blonde”) and Ashton Kutcher (“No Strings Attached”), respectively. 

The movie starts out with Debbie and Peter in 2003 in their early 20s, hooking up once before it cuts to 20 years into the future revealing that they never developed a romantic relationship but have been long distance best friends for the last two decades. 

Debbie has found herself as a single mother in Los Angeles and Peter is described as a “rolling stone that never grows moss” in New York City, never having maintained a romantic relationship for more than six months. 

Due to a series of mildly inconvenient events, Debbie finds herself in New York City for a week pursuing an accounting certificate and Peter finds himself in Los Angeles taking care of Debbie’s son for a week.

Throughout the week, a variety of hijinks go down as the pair basically take over each others’ lives. Debbie spends the week hanging out with Peter’s gorgeous and rich ex-girlfriend learning how to not let her need for practicality stop her from living a fulfilling life. This climaxes in Debbie going out on a limb to help Peter achieve his wildest dreams. However, Debbie’s plan requires her to take a huge risk, both on her part and on behalf of Peter, in order to get Peter’s work into the hands of a professional.

Peter spends the week with Debbie’s son, Jack, learning how the responsibility of parenthood has caused Debbie to air on the practical side more often than not. This contrasts significantly with Peter’s lifestyle of never settling down with a girlfriend or a long-term job and forces him to reflect on what is causing him to avoid commitment in his own life. 

He takes it upon himself to help Jack get a spot on a sports team that Debbie would never have let him try out for, which ended up with Jack in the emergency room. When Debbie gets the call that her son is in the emergency room without her, she rushes across the country to be by his side. When Debbie and Peter each find out what the other has done to their lives without telling them, it explodes into a screaming match in the LA airport. Eventually they are forced to admit that the passion they have behind the argument is actually the passion that they have for each other that they have been refusing to accept for 20 years.

Although the couple gets less than 10 minutes of time on screen together, their chemistry is so clear that it is almost palpable. Throughout the film, a particular emphasis is placed on the couple’s relationship in an emotional sense, rather than in a physical sense. The ins and outs of their friendship gets explored, particularly the feelings that they never were able to share with each other. The movie explores romance in a very unique way, telling the story of young sweethearts that finally are able to admit their feelings to each other. 

Unlike many rom-coms, “Your Place or Mine” does not feature any sexually explicit content, instead focusing all of the time onscreen to developing the characters and their relationships emotionally. For a film where the two protagonists are never actually in the same place until the very end of the movie, this choice was important to maintain the romantic and down-to-earth tone of the film. All in all, “Your Place or Mine” explores the modern conceptions of what romance is supposed to be and what it means for two people to be in love.