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Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher shine in a rom-com

If you determine to settle in and watch “Your Place or Mine” to see the sparks fly between Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher, you will be initially dissatisfied. They’re not in the identical room till the final 12 minutes.

The premise of this explicit Netflix rom-com is 2 previous mates switching properties for per week and snapping one another out of their ruts. Might in addition they fall in love? (Do many rom-coms not finish that means?)

In this one, Witherspoon and Kutcher play opposites — he is a wealthy marketing consultant who lives in an elegant however chilly New York house; she’s an earthy and protecting single mother to a 13-year-old boy in Los Angeles. They attached 20 years in the past however determined friendship was the higher path.

These two speak daily, forcing the filmmakers to lay our a fortune on cut up screens. It’s an intimate relationship over twenty years as every helps and encourages the opposite. Someone asks him the plain query — “If you like each other so much, why aren’t you guys together?” — and there’s no actually good reply. She gives one other: “Uh, barf.”

A final-minute emergency triggers the movie’s central motion: Witherspoon must fly to New York however her childcare important choice flakes, so Kutcher’s character decides to go to Los Angeles as backup. “You need help and I’m coming,” he tells her. They discover themselves in one another’s properties, attending to know every others’ mates and usually shaking issues up.

Written and directed by Aline Brosh McKenna, “Your Place or Mine” is cute and lightweight from a creator recognized extra for satires like “Devil Wears Prada” and “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” This Valentine’s Day, it hits the spot when you’re within the temper for fairly individuals performing insecure and clueless.

At first, although, the movie meanders with an alarming lack of urgency, as if Brosh McKenna was blissful sufficient simply filling the display screen along with her two stunning leads and placing them in fairly locations. You would possibly initially mistake it as a rom-com for actual property.

Eventually, every begin to see the opposite as a mission that wants fixing. Kutcher tries to loosen up his greatest good friend’s son — snack on junk meals, letting him watch scary motion pictures and permitting him to check out for the hockey workforce, all issues forbidden when mother’s round. He sees all of it as an extension of labor: “That’s what I do: I get in, manage things, no muss, no fuss.”

On the opposite coast, Witherspoon finds an previous manuscript her greatest good friend has hidden from her and decides she should attempt to get it revealed. She additionally flirts with a hunky writer — Jesse Williams, smoldering — and breaks all logic when she does not instantly fall into the cool, sensual piercing blue of his eyes and by no means desires to depart… Wait, the place was I?

The movie quickly mines an fascinating space, particularly how a lot do greatest mates actually learn about one another? When Witherspoon’s character finds the e book, she is in shock. “We tell each other everything,” she says. Replies a good friend: “Obviously you don’t.” This can be a movie that champions taking an opportunity, going for it and never enjoying it protected.

The movie permits Witherspoon and Kutcher to point out off their naturally humorous sides, particularly after they’re fishes out of water. But most of the scenes drag on and generally the exposition is chalky, like when Witherspoon says: “I have to finish this program before the end of the year so I can apply for that open senior accounting position at the regional school district.”

Some smaller roles give necessary jolts of quirky, like Zoë Chao as a slinky former flame of Kutcher’s character in New York and Tig Notaro and Steve Zahn in LA. Notaro’s wit is as dry as a cactus, whereas Zahn performs a crazy gardener who’s credited for writing two oddball songs on the soundtrack.

Speaking of songs, the producers will need to have forked over tons of money to the property of Ric Ocasek. To set up Kutcher’s character as a fan of The Cars, at least 9 songs — together with “Heartbreak City,” “Drive” and “You Might Think” — have been used. The movie’s soundtrack might double as a greatest-hits album.

The movie builds to — lastly! — a scene when Witherspoon and Kutcher are in the identical zip code and a pleasant flipping of the normal rom-com airport scene on its head. That’s when the movie solutions the query can women and men simply be mates with a robust: “Uh, barf.”

“Your Place or Mine,” a Netflix launch, is rated PG-13 for “suggestive material and brief strong language.” Running time: 111 minutes. Two and a half stars out of 4.

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