ON THE ROCKS gets 6/10 Rocky relationship

Directed by Sofia Coppola

Starring Rashida Jones, Bill Murray, Marlon Wayans


Writer-director Sofia Coppola has returned with her Lost in Translation star Bill Murray for something that’s considerably less spectacular than that memorable 2003 drama-comedy. This is a breezy, light comedy film that’s likeable enough, though never becomes daring or adventurous with its plotline or what it says about men and women.

Laura (Rashida Jones) becomes growingly suspicious that her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) is having an affair with one of his co-workers, so she enlists the help of the man who knows best about infidelity – her father, Felix (Bill Murray). This father-daughter duo work across various nights to try and catch out Dean, all the while Felix divulges on wise old man musings on the true nature of men.

Murray’s Felix is meant to be a paradoxical figure, a charming and charismatic fellow whose charms and charisma has lead to his infidelities that have then lead to immense pain brought on his family. Yet his admitted “men are naturally scum” philosophising actually ends up being repetitive and certainly not enlightening in any way. Murray elevates the role higher than it should be, with his easy-to-please familiar face dotting pleasantries in this humdrum film, especially against Laura’s needlessly hollow “do no wrong” wife-mother character.

Yet even Murray’s regular smooth antics here feel so much more tired rather than fresh and cool like in Murray’s earlier films, as if we’ve seen this act one too many times before. On the Rocks has a handsome design to it, with New York (mostly seen at night) looking like it’s in a classy noir film. It’s a shame that the characters that inhabit this New York end up being almost one-dimensional as they espouse the most basic of gender relations.

On the Rocks feels like a slight film that’s at least building up to something. Ultimately, its ending is scanter than anything preceding it. Long gone are the days of the last Coppola-Murray collaboration, Lost in Translation, where this younger duo actually had far more wisdom, insight, and something to actually say than they do here.


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