Review: On the Rocks

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones in On the Rocks

On the Rocks on Apple TV+ stars Bill Murray and Rashida Jones in a father/daughter story about marriage, monogamy, parenting, and lost trust. The film was written and directed by Sofia Coppola.

On the Rocks is premised on the idea that Laura (Rashida Jones) thinks her often traveling husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) is having an affair with his coworker Fiona (Jessica Henwick).

Marlon Wayans and Rashida Jones in On the Rocks
You’re never home and you gave me a kitchen appliance for my birthday. Just sayin’.

The couple have two children, Maya (Liyanna Muscat) and toddler Theo (Alexandra Mary Reimer and Anna Chanel Reimer). They live in New York City, where Dean is starting a new business. Laura is a writer who can’t write because she’s thinking about her husband’s behavior.

Laura tells her dad (Bill Murray) about her suspicions. I admit I’ve never understood the enthusiasm for Bill Murray. Obviously he’s a good actor, but he doesn’t inspire me to carry on about him the way some people do. I actually find that sad sack demeanor of his rather boring.

In this movie he is flagrantly sexist, a philandering man who believes men are destined to have sex with every woman they encounter. But, somehow, everyone loves him. He remembers everyone’s name and their personal details. He greets everyone by name and makes endearing conversation.

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones in On the Rocks
The car was the funniest character.

Dad decides Dean is having an affair and he wants to prove it. He goes into amateur detective mode. He drags Laura all over the city and even to Mexico in pursuit of proof of his theory. The best scene in this antic chase was in a tiny red sports car that rattled, clanged, backfired, and sounded like a motorcycle when it finally ran.

Laura was passive. She went along with her dad’s schemes without a whimper. That really bothered me. A New Yorker who doesn’t stand up for herself, come on! Finally in Mexico she told him off. But she immediately forgave him. She endured the verbal onslaught of self-examination from Vanessa (Jenny Slate) that came at her each day at the pre-school. Her ability to be polite was astonishing.

In summary, this film was more drama than comedy, and never reached a level I would call outstanding. Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola have proven themselves a good team in the past, so I’m sure the film will get a lot of attention. I found it bland.

On the Rocks poster

Here’s the trailer for your viewing pleasure.

Have you seen On the Rocks? What did you think about it?

2 thoughts on “Review: On the Rocks”

  1. christopher a swaby

    there is something about Mr. Murray that is hard to explain. i agree that he is a one note actor, much like Kevin Costner and Keanu Reeves, but when the film is written for that one note, he is amazing. there really is something to a celebrity of his stature who is wedding crashing or serving drinks behind the bar of a restaurant or doing the many “ordinary people” things he seems to do all the time. and i think there is something endearing, or at least likeable, about a person who remembers names and birthdates, etc. i know in my career, remembering those kinds of things, in which i really have a sincere interest, is part of my success. mind you, i’m not a flagrantly sexist philander but still, there is something admirable about a person who pays attention to the details of the lives of others. all of that said, i didnt enjoy this movie at all. i liked every performer but i couldnt tell what the movie was supposed to be: comedy, drama, character study. it was certainly no “Lost in Translation.”

    btw, its Marlon not Marion Wayans

    1. Thanks for the comment and especially for the correction about Marlon Wayans. I thought it was odd that there was a Wayans I hadn’t heard of before, but it was just my failing eyesight.

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