On the Rocks

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Has anyone noticed this? As the sheer drama of the everyday news gets more fantastical and bizarre, the storylines in movies seem more and more rooted in reality. On the Rocks reflects that trend to the point that it is merely a chronicle that details someone with a suspicious feeling. Hollywood has long relied on science fiction and fantasy for its big-budget tent-poles. The New Mutants and Tenet are recent examples. I get that Hollywood hasn’t released much over the past nine months but where are the low-cost science fiction and fantasy flicks? Vivarium, Sputnik, and Possessor immediately come to mind, but those are the exception in an industry where it used to be the rule. Ah, but I digress. On the Rocks came out in October to AppleTV. Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, it stars Bill Murray and Rashida Jones. Coppola famously worked with Murray in Lost in Translation back in 2003, so devotees of that film may appreciate this as a reunion of sorts.

A simple deliberation on humanity can be refreshing. The story concerns Laura (Rashida Jones), a wife who suspects that her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) is cheating. Bill Murray portrays her father Felix who wants to trail the husband detective style with his daughter by his side and determine beyond any doubt whether Dean is in fact disloyal. Laura is a sweet and likable novelist who is struggling to finish her latest book. Felix is a successful art dealer and a bit of a lothario. Perhaps Laura’s husband is somewhat like her dad? The script gets a lot of humor from the exasperated reactions from his daughter. Murray and Jones have lovely chemistry together. They do indeed make a nice team. The New York locations add a cosmopolitan feel to the narrative and Philippe Le Sourd’s cinematography beautifully exploits that.

This is a slight account built around an extremely thin storyline. Not a lot happens. It essentially coasts on the considerable charm of its stars. I’m not saying it’s bad. However, the wistful but conventional tone wasn’t enough to captivate this particular viewer. It’s never a good sign when a 96-minute movie is so inconsequential that you have to watch it in two parts. I watched a full hour before checking out and returning the next day to finish it up. On the Rocks has gotten positive reviews. It’s unquestionably well-acted. Both Murray and Jones imbue their characters with genuine pathos, but the subject is surprisingly mundane for a Sofia Coppola screenplay. She directed the less old-fashioned Somewhere back in 2010. I suppose if you’re a fan of that film and its leisurely pace then I’d recommend this one to you as well.


6 Responses to “On the Rocks”

  1. Yes. I too thought the story line was very thin. A couple of key questions could’ve solved the whole story. Communication anyone? I was disappointed. ⭐️ ⭐️


  2. Lost in Translation was similarly bereft of plot but kept my attention through the wonderful performances and clear chemistry between the two leads. Haha I wonder what Scarlett Johansson thinks of On the Rocks. Wonder if she feels she has been “replaced.” (You can tell the way I am likely to respond to this movie when I finally get around to it.) 😁


    • Ha ha. It wasn’t for me either. Lost in Transaltion was A LOT better.

      Liked by 1 person

    • By the way…..Have you seen The Trial of the Chicago 7? This is going to be an interesting year at the Oscars. It’s one of the frontrunners but I was largely unimpressed by it: https://fastfilmreviews.com/2020/10/19/the-trial-of-the-chicago-7/

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have not seen that one yet. I’ve missed so many movies. It seems I have been rather rattled by the way American society is currently trending, the oil-and-open flame combo that is the soon-to-be ex-Prez refusing to give up his seat and instilling in certain parts of this country this notion that being a sore loser is totally, 100% cool man, and during a global pandemic that has killed scores of Americans no f***ing less. My mood lately, to put it lightly, has been sour. 😉 The Trial of the Chicago Seven, though timely, I’m sure will just rile me up further.


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