On the Rocks Reteams Sofia Coppola, Bill Murray

(L-R) Rashida Jones and Bill Murray in On the Rocks. Photo Courtesy of Apple

Oscar-winning writer-director Sofia Coppola reteams with her Lost in Translation star, Bill Murray, in the recently premiered On the Rocks.

The gist of the film is that Laura (Rashida Jones) and her father, Felix (Bill Murray), want to know if Laura’s husband, Dean (Marlon Wayans) is having an affair.  This is the basic plot of On the Rocks.  Honestly, this is all you need to know about the film because Coppola takes us on a ride throughout New York City from there.

At its core, On the Rocks is a film about relationships.  Husband and wife.  Father and daughter.  What happens when said husband may be having an affair?  Well, the father gets involved and together, they start tailing Dean.  The resulting comedy leads to Laura and Felix to grow closer in their own relationship with each other.  Meanwhile, Dean does himself zero favors by starting to stay late at the office.  Also, how in the hell do you end up traveling out of town on your wife’s birthday?  It’s a bad sign especially if you’re being accused of cheating on your wife.  Moreover, this certainly is not a smart idea and it will not end well if you ask me!  Oh, well.

Behind the camera and on the page, Sofia Coppola changes it up once again.  This time, the Oscar-winning filmmaker pays homage to the Classic Hollywood capers that fans love.  In penning the script, Coppola draws on her relationship with her father, Francis Ford Coppola.  The elder Coppola is a part of the “martini generation.”  In other words, how does Laura’s relationship with Felix also affect her relationship with Dean?  Who better to play Felix than Bill Murray?  Sure, you don’t know if he’ll actually show up on set but Murray brings a personality to this role that simply can’t be replicated by anyone else.  This is why he’s a national treasure.  Moreover, Coppola writes the character as a product of Murray’s own generation.

There’s another thing to take in through viewing On the Rocks.  Coppola captures a glimpse of New York that might take years to see again.  What we see on screen is truly a city that never sleeps.  Rest assured, the city will be back in due time.

Will On the Rocks get the same sort of love from the Academy as Lost in Translation?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that Bill Murray and Rashida Jones pair well together on screen.  This is the third time that all three have worked together following A Very Murray Xmas on Netflix.  Plus, this gives us another feature film teaming Coppola and Murray, which is good enough for me.  In a year where the studios are delaying their tentpoles, it should bode well for streamers and independent film.

On the Rocks may pay homage to a classic generation of films but the film may grow to become a contemporary classic in its own right.

CAST:  Bill Murray, Rashida Jones, Marlon Wayans

A24 and Apple open On the Rocks in theaters on October 2, 2020. AppleTV+ will start streaming the film on October 23, 2020. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.