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Review: On the Rocks (2020)

On the Rocks (2020)

Directed by: Sofia Coppola | 96 minutes | adventure, comedy | Actors: Bill Murray, Rashida Jones, Marlon Wayans, Jenny Slate, Jessica Henwick, Barbara Bain, Nadia Dajani, Musto Pelinkovicci, Jules Willcox, Alexandra Mary Reimer, Evangeline Young, Ximena Lamadrid, Grayson Eddey, Mike Keller, Chase Sui Wonders, Cliff samara

‘On the Rocks’ is about Laura (Rashida Jones), a frustrated writer who lives in New York with her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) and her two energetic daughters. They have a healthy marriage, yet Laura fears it is about to crumble. Dean works long hours at his company and is constantly making work arrangements out of town, leading Laura to suspect that he is losing interest in their marriage. When Laura discovers the toiletry bag of one of Dean’s female colleagues in his luggage, she becomes convinced that he is having an affair. Laura confides her fears to her father Felix (Bill Murray), a wealthy art dealer who immediately agrees that Dean is cheating on his daughter. Felix insists that they jointly spy on him, in order to confirm his potential relationship. And so father and daughter follow the unsuspecting Dean across town, perhaps offering a way to strengthen their own bond as well.

She is a director, actress and the daughter of the famous filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. At a age, Soffia Coppola was introduced to the world of cinema, where she would later find her calling like her father. Over the years she has developed into an independent and stylish director, and a master of quiet feelings such as loneliness and melancholy. However, with ‘On the Rocks’ she takes a completely different direction.

The long-awaited reunion of Soffia Coppola and Bill Murray – after 2003’s Lost in Translation, for which Coppola received an Oscar and Murray a nomination – has unfortunately not been as successful as its predecessor. ‘On the Rocks’, a light-hearted father-daughter comedy, is without a doubt Coppola’s lightest work to date. Charming and witty, Coppola hardly challenges himself with this New York comedy. The film lacks the emotion and depth that made ‘Lost in Translation’ so good and is a slight disappointment in that respect. Coppola has more to offer.

Still, ‘On the Rocks’ is by no means a bad movie. This is in large part due to Bill Murray’s effortless charm. His role as the sardonic yet lovely Felix could not be played by anyone else. Felix could have easily been a nasty old bum, but Murray injects a degree of charisma into this role that never annoys Felix’s shortcomings. Murray’s chemistry with lead actress is also successful. The pair are completely believable as father and daughter. Gradually, the viewer learns more and more about their complicated relationship, which eventually leads to a beautiful scene with the two. It’s then that you realize that ‘On the Rocks’ shouldn’t have been about Laura and Dean’s marriage, but rather the bond between Laura and Felix.

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