Valentine’s Day passed by leaving behind a trail of still streamable romantic comedies.
Netflix enters the rom-com game with the high-profile Your Place or Mine teaming experts in the genre. With successful screenplays like The Devil Wears Prada behind her, Aline Brosh McKenna earns the chance to direct her original screenplay—though admittedly, few rom-coms manage to feel original. Like the duo from Sleepless in Seattle, the Your Place couple spends little story time in the same place, allowing for a gimmick that goes back even further, the split screen combo from a huge Doris Day hit, Pillow Talk. And while Your Place star Reese Witherspoon channels some of Day’s wholesome, blond cheeriness, she gets to live in a modern world where no one wants or expects a forty-year-old virgin. Witherspoon joins co-star Ashton Kucher with the comfortable ease gained from decades of comic roles. And comfortable works as the operative word in a piece that hits all the basic marks of rom com
without stretching into edgy or exciting territory.
Over at Amazon, romantic support lurks behind the scenes in Somebody I Used to Know, which lets a real-life couple take lead positions writing and working together. Dave Franco directs Alison Brie in a story that returns her character to a small hometown featuring Bavarian architecture, many pretzels, and a former love played by Jay Ellis. Their sparks still exist, not helped by his impending marriage. Sounds like My Best Friend’s Wedding, but at least Somebody’s characters acknowledge the similarity in a script that ultimately focuses on the need for individuality rather than partnership.