I figured the chances of me liking On the Rocks were high before I even saw it. It’s the kind of simplistic movie that we don’t get as frequently as we should. For me, I just needed it to feel a certain way and make me laugh. When I was done watching it, I felt that I got most of what I wanted, but there was probably one thing I would have changed.
Laura (Rashida Jones) is a New York mother of two who is suddenly facing doubts about her marriage. As she begins to ask herself questions, the situation becomes more anxiety-inducing once her playboy father (Bill Murray) gets in involved. In the hopes of finding answers, Laura’s father convinces her to tail her husband (Marlon Wayans) around the city to find out if another woman is taking his attention away from his family.
On the Rocks has a real-world feel to it for the most part. The way it’s presented and the characters that are included allow for that to happen. In a way, this gives us a glimpse into the life of a seemingly loving family with some slightly dysfunctional people hovering around them and making things interesting.
The film also deals with a woman’s insecurities in spite of her having what seems to be a healthy cast of supporting friends and family surrounding her. If she wanted to, Sofia Coppola could have used this to create a more dramatic film about what goes on in someone’s mind, but introducing us to a character like the one played by Bill Murray doesn’t really allow for that.
While Rashida Jones plays a mostly serious character, Murray stars as someone who’s there for comedic effect. This allows things to be a little lighter even though we’re dealing with a subject that many people may have to cope with at some point in life. As far as the character he portrays, Murray is shown as someone who is out of place in all of this.
When you’re watching the movie, that’s how he feels as well. While just about every notable character appears to be plucked right out of the real world to some extent, Murray seems to come directly out of a movie. Although this takes away from some of the serious elements, it brings humor and life to what’s here.
While I would consider Murray’s character to be the central figure in terms of personality, it’s Jones who portrays the person who is actually at the center of the film itself. As far as her performance, I think she’s solid here, but there could have been more from her. This isn’t an issue with her performance. It has more to do with what her character is allowed to show us.
They do a fine job of explaining her current predicament from the start, but I found myself wanting to get to know her more as a person. From the start, we’re given a chance to see what her motives are and why the doubts creeping into her brain. Those are obviously necessary features to build on, but we don’t spend enough time getting to know her like we should.
For me, that was important because I was searching for ways to feel more connected to her since she’s the film’s protagonist and may have been in every scene. Instead of finding a way to show us who she actually is at some point, we see her in a constant state of self-doubt while working through the early stages of depression. This is where Murray comes in and adds more to this father-daughter adventure.
Ultimately, I do feel as if these two actors worked well together. I actually think the main three characters fit into what was here as well as one would hope they would. Outside of wanting to see more of Laura’s personality in its natural state, there isn’t much to complain about here. There’s nothing here that overwhelms the senses, but that’s the point. When you watch On the Rocks, you’ll see that it’s just a simple, old school picture that just happens to be set during a more contemporary time.
Director: Sofia Coppola
Screenwriter: Sofia Coppola
Film Length: 97 minutes
October 2, 2020 (Select Theaters)
October 23, 2020 (Apple TV+)
Apple Original Films
- Score - 7/107/10