On the Rocks is directed by acclaimed filmmaker Sofia Coppola and stars Bill Murray and Rashida Jones as father and daughter, with Marlon Wayans as the husband. This film will be screening at Palace Cinemas (excluding Victoria),nationally from October 2 and will be on Apple TV (plus) from October 23.
Young New York mother, Laura, thinks she's quite happily married, until doubts set in when her husband, Dean, starts working later and later at the office, with Fiona, aka Fi Fi, a new co-worker. Fearing the worst, she turns to her charming and philandering playboy art dealer father, Felix, whom she believes may have insight into such situations. He insists they follow her husband, which takes them on a journey that could lead right back to their own relationship.
The film is a bit of a slow burn that couldn't have been pulled off without the cool charm and presence of Bill Murray. However, he too can only work with the material he's given. The intent of the film might have started out as something lighter in tone in Coppola's vision about a marriage, however, it kinda misses the boat. This is no Lost in Translation, yet it is.
The marriage and everyone else fades to shade with Murray on screen. You can't hold back a veteran with charisma attached in scenes only he could pull off. He does a cool rendition of the song Mexicali Way, with surprisingly okay vocals. However, for the rest of the time, he's simply a slightly amusing character that'll put a wry, sometimes contrived, smile on your face. There's not enough of banter, material, or emotional connection to pull off any more than that.
Wayans may as well have dropped out of the film for all the substance he gets to display. Jones, who plays the wife, simply moves through the film without any real emotional attachment to what's in her world. She's frustrated and has writer's block, she suspects her husband but doesn't really get angry, she lends a polite ear to a friend who drones on incessantly about her emotional life, but is not really listening. Perhaps that's meant to be the projection and true reflection of how she's feeling, conveyed to the audience. If a low-key figure of a woman is what Coppola was going for, Jones nailed it!
On the Rocks isn't going to make it to awards night, but it's still a very watchable film, as long as you don't try and dissect it. It doesn't have the same magic as Lost in Translation and perhaps that's the problem as one can't help going through a comparison, looking for that magic. However, it's still a good enough film that makes you want it to be better.