ON THE ROCKS
(director/writer: Sofia Coppola; cinematographer: Philippe Le Sourd; editor: Sarah Flack; music: Phoenix; cast: Bill Murray (Felix), Rashida Jones (Laura), Marlon Wayans (Dean), Jessica Henwick (Fiona), Jenny Slate (Vanessa), Liyanna Muscat (Maya), Alexandra Mary Reimer (Theo), Anna Chanel Reimer (Theo), Barbara Bain (Gran); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Youree Henley/Sofia Coppola; Apple TV Plus; 2020)
“A harmless daddy issues/hubby issues comedy, played mostly for comedy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A harmless daddy issues/hubby issues comedy, played mostly for comedy. It’s competently directed and written by Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”/”La Traviata”), daughter of the legendary director Francis Ford Coppola.
Felix (Bill Murray) is a wealthy bon vivant retired NYC art dealer, who drives a vintage Alfa Romeo and is a friendly, ageing playboy, cynic. The divorced dad has a married daughter, Laura (Rashida Jones), who is a writer with a book contract and a writer’s block. Her slippery husband, Dean (Marlon Wayans), runs his generic start-up and never seems to have time for her. She suspects he’s involved with his colleague Fiona (Jessica Henwick.
Laura fears their marriage is coming apart, and goes to daddy for advice. The joke being she asks her unfaithful father for marriage counseling, whose wife (Laura’s mother) left him because of his infidelity. Dad has the two of them spy on the possible adulterer, with time allowed for dad to show his daughter the hot spots he used to frequent.
The story is filled with ambiguity and lacks substance, as it’s delicately told from a woman’s point of view of how she hasn’t asserted herself and can’t find a way to lead her own life. Even when taking her eldest to school Laura is cornered by a annoying parent (Jenny Slate) who talks non-stop about herself (funniest bit in the film).
Jones pleasantly captures the role, but Murray dominates as he is most entertaining and appealing (he even delightfully sings “Mexicali Rose”). His presence in an average film raises it a little higher.
REVIEWED ON 10/8/2020 GRADE: B