Review: On the Rocks (2020)

Director/Screenwriter: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Rashida Jones, Bill Murray, Marlon Wayans, Jenny Slate, Jessica Henwick
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language/sexual references
Release Date: 10/2/20 (Streaming)
Runtime: 1h 36min
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%
Where to Watch: Apple+

I was semi-excited to see On the Rocks, because I knew Sofia Coppola was a talented storyteller — Lost in Translation is so original and clever, and Marie Antoinette is a unique take on the famed figure — and I was curious to see Bill Murray in a new role, which some deemed as his best work since his [sole] Oscar-nominated performance in Lost in Translation. And, while I was impressed with Murray’s work here, I found the film to be incredibly disappointing and a waste of my time, despite only being 96 minutes long. 

Honestly, I’m finding it hard to believe why so many people enjoyed this movie: there’s no real plot or character development, and the characters aren’t even that likable (flaws are important but you need to be able to root for the characters). Coppola’s script tries to be clever and interesting, but it’s not. I wasn’t invested in the story, and the ending is almost just “meh.” The central relationship between the father and daughter — played by Murray and Rashida Jones — is semi-interesting, but not nearly enough. Jones is stereotypically overworked mother who begins to suspect her husband (Marlon Wayans, surprisingly good in a non-comedic role) of infidelity, and enlists the aid of her flirting, old-fashioned father to spy on him. The spying scenes are, for lack of a better time, dumb, poorly-conceived, and predictable. 

Strangely, the best part about the movie has nothing to do with the main characters: it’s Jenny Slate in a near-cameo as a hilariously rambling parent. The fact that such a small role steals the show — and is the most memorable part of the film — tells you exactly how I felt about it as a whole. Even though Murray’s character is somewhat detestable, his performance is still charming and hardly one-note, although I don’t think he should receive his second Oscar nomination for his performance (this is mainly due to the fact that I dislike the film). Jones is convincing in the main role, but is given some pretty horrible, hackneyed lines.