“On The Rocks is a very sweet, loving father-daughter movie that everyone should check out.”
On The Rocks is a delightful romantic mystery that excels due to its leads Rashida Jones and Bill Murray having incredible chemistry. Its runtime clocks in at only 90 minutes leaving some questions with the conclusion to the movie as a whole but make no mistake about it, the point of the movie is to watch Jones and Murray on screen together and the audience gets just the perfect amount of that.
Jones plays Laura who is a mid-thirties writer and mother married to Dean played by Marlon Wayans. Dean is a workaholic and after a few weeks of late nights, increasing business trips, and strange behavior at home, Laura begins to suspect that Dean is cheating on her. When Laura confides in her father Felix, played by Murray, he suggests that all men are playboys like he is and convinces Laura they should work together to follow him and discover what Dean is up to. The two take off together following Dean around New York and even abroad in an effort to uncover whether or not he is faithful.
Of course, the movie bills itself as a romantic comedy mystery but it is really about the relationship between a father and daughter who love each other but still feel distant. This is where the movie shines most. Murray is amazing as Felix just charming every single person he encounters and making Laura squirm and roll her eyes at all of his smarminess that disarms others but doesn’t work at all on her. Murray hasn’t been this good in years and director Sofia Coppola finds a way to make him even more endearing as a playboy old man in this movie than he was in his Oscar-nominated part in her movie Lost In Translation. Murray’s charm oozes off the screen and we smile at all that he is despite instantly relating to Laura who clearly sees his tactics as eye-rolling in the way any daughter would.
Jones is extremely talented, is a joy when she pops up in shows and movies, and can perfectly harness those talents to go toe to toe with Murray. Jones infuses Laura with a sense of honesty about her life and career that is hard to deny for anyone who has doubted where they ended up in life. Laura questions her marriage, her talent, and her accomplishments and uses her suspicions about her husband to bring them all to the surface while teaming up with her Dad. Felix doesn’t help very much as he instantly confirms her suspicions and believes Dean is cheating because Felix is a man who has cheated his whole life.
The mindset of Felix brings about one of the best exchanges in the movie when he declares he cannot even hear women’s voices anymore, complaining of the pitch. Laura responds that he has daughters so he needs to learn how to hear them. This is the beauty of both roles being so wonderfully performed. We watch both characters start to strip back layers of themselves and their own relationship to get to the core of the issue between them. Coppola makes New York look as beautiful as any city in years on the big screen.
Most importantly, On The Rocks is funny. It isn’t rolling around of the ground cackling funny but the humor is very well executed and usually buttressed by a poignant thought from one character. By the end of the runtime, you forget that Laura and Felix were trying to expose a cheater because the real story was about a Daddy’s girl and a distant father reconnecting and setting a new dynamic moving forward in their own father-daughter relationship. The journey was about learning what they mean to each other and discovering who they are as true individuals. Laura and Felix explore how their relationship fueled who they are as people and how together they can make each other better. It is a very sweet, loving father-daughter movie and everyone should check it out.