Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher, who both have strong resumés of romantic comedy classics, have returned to the genre with Netflix’s Your Place or Mine. The duo star as longtime best friends who live in Los Angeles and New York City, respectively, and decide to swap houses and lives for a week, leading to some romantic revelations along the way.
Witherspoon, who is also a producer on the film, said she was pulled back to the rom-com genre after having a desire to work with writer-director Aline Brosh McKenna, telling The Hollywood Reporter at the L.A. premiere on Thursday it was “one of my dreams to work with her, and to get to work with her as a director.”
“Every day she comes up with funny ideas, she makes everything better,” the star continued, “and then Ashton was just a dream, I was so glad that he wanted to do the movie. We had the best time. You can tell we’re having fun.”
Though the success of a romantic comedy hinges on the chemistry between the two leads, Witherspoon said she didn’t know if she and Kutcher would have the right dynamic until they got started, and that she was actually much closer to his wife Mila Kunis.
“We really worked on it, we talked every day for the month leading up to it,” Witherspoon said of building their chemistry. “We sent each other videos every single day so that we got to know each other so that by the time we got to set, he knew my dog’s name, he knew all of my kids, I’d seen him get his coffee.”
Kutcher confirmed “you can tell on screen” if the rom-com energy will be believable, and said he “had more fun making this than maybe anything I’ve ever made as an actor, because every single day I showed up to work I had fun.”
“I think every movie that I’ve made has aspects or qualities or pieces or parts that I go: that,” he continued, of what makes a project stand out. “This one was pretty special because I think this movie could only be made today. You couldn’t make this movie 15 years ago because people weren’t using FaceTime, you couldn’t have had this long-distance relationship. It would’ve been an entirely different film, and the viability of that relationship and the commentary on how strong long-distance relationships can become when you’re actually talking to someone every day, I think it’s a nod to what this movie is about.”
Brosh McKenna, the former Crazy Ex-Girlfriend showrunner making her feature directorial debut, said the idea for the film came about 12 years ago when she stayed at her friend’s bachelor pad. She joked she went to Witherspoon and Kutcher because “they’re my choices for everything; Reese is obviously one of the best actors and also really funny and just brings so much heart and soul to what she does. And Ashton I thought it was a great opportunity to depict him as the grown-ass man that he really is,” adding that “they have such great chemistry.”
And with such a hunger for the romantic comedies of the ’90s and early 2000s, and with two of the stars of that era, Brosh McKenna said they both wanted to tap into those classics and “make something fresh and modern that felt very today and a reality and a grounded-ness to it, so like where she lives, her clothing, how her kid dresses and his apartment is a nice apartment but it’s not like a $20 million apartment. It’s a perennial genre, my favorite romantic comedies come from the ’30s and ’40s, so you can always find a way to update it and I hope that’s what we did.”
Your Place or Mine starts streaming on Netflix Feb. 10.