The new Netflix rom-com Your Place or Mine, starring Ashton Kutcher and Reese Witherspoon, rocketed all the way to the top of Netflix’s most-watched movies list in the US following its debut on Friday. That popularity, however, also belies the fact that the movie is simultaneously being savaged by both critics as well as fans online, in addition to garnering some abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores — and reminding me of an unfortunate pattern we saw follow several months’ worth of Netflix movies last year:
Basically, the streaming giant seems quite adept at making movies that get watched — but that people end up not, well, liking all that much in the long run.
Your Place or Mine: A bomb with critics and fans
As the newest example of this trend, Your Place or Mine is somehow #1 on Netflix in the US while also currently enjoying pretty savage Rotten Tomatoes scores. Specifically, it’s got a 36% critics’ score (out of 100%) as of this writing, as well as a 42% audience score.
“Debbie (Reese Witherspoon) and Peter (Ashton Kutcher) are best friends and total opposites,” Netflix’s logline explains about the movie. “She craves routine with her son in LA; he thrives on change in NY. When they swap houses and lives for a week they discover what they think they want might not be what they really need.”
The cast here also includes Jesse Williams, Zoë Chao, Wesley Kimmel, Griffin Matthews, Rachel Bloom, Shiri Appleby, Vella Lovell, Tig Notaro, and Steve Zahn. Ozark’s Jason Bateman is also an executive producer on the film.
“I had high hopes with this impeccable casting,” a Rotten Tomatoes reviewer lamented in a review on Monday. “The plot and characters fell short. No development. No discernible growth or change, just plodding ever forward to an inevitable ending. Zoe Chao shone as love-to-hate Minka, but why her and Debbie ended up becoming friends was inexplicably left out of the movie and just confused me. Felt deflated at the end. Not a feel-good movie for me.”
Opined another viewer: “No chemistry between Reese and Ashton! Simply awful!”
Other Netflix movie flops
The response to Netflix movies like Your Place or Mine, to be sure, comes in different variations — the rarest being the one wherein both critics and fans love what they’ve seen. Granted, there will always be disagreements between people on the quality of a piece of art, but Netflix movies seem to consistently produce a yawning gap between their success and what people actually say about those movies.
The streamer, for example, has decided to move forward with a sequel to last year’s action-thriller The Gray Man from the Russo Brothers even though it was widely panned by critics.
Other Netflix movies over the past year that garnered pretty negative reactions from either critics or fans (and which still shot to the top of Netflix’s chart in the US) included Purple Hearts, which one critic blasted as “so determined to satisfy the algorithm that it would lack any coherent sense of self if not for the fact that it was chiefly designed as a star vehicle for Disney Channel grad Sofia Carson.”
Day Shift, a forgettable action-comedy wherein Jamie Foxx plays a vampire hunter, was similarly forgettable — yet, for a time, was the #1 Netflix movie worldwide. And don’t even get me started on Kevin Hart-led Netflix tripe like Me Time and The Man from Toronto.
Luckily, while there are more of these kinds of titles than I’d like to see mixed in with the rest of Netflix’s library, there’s still a ton of quality film content there that’s also available to binge (even if it doesn’t go all the way to #1, as the above titles did). Recent standouts include All Quiet on the Western Front, JUNG_E, and the documentary Pamela, a love story.