I saw Sofia Coppola‘s On the Rocks (A24/Apple, 10.23) about a week ago, and I’ve been waiting for the spirit to seize. But nothing’s happened, and the reason is that it’s fine as far as it goes. I didn’t dislike it and don’t feel the slightest urge to put it down. It’s an occasionally amusing, reasonably decent father-daughter relationship film (Bill Murray, Rashida Jones), but it does leave you wishing it had put a little more on the plate.
It’s a marital-suspicion dramedy (“Is my husband cheating on me?”) served in a faintly bouncy, mildly entertaining fashion…okay, sometimes more than mildly. It looks good, Coppola’s script feels smooth and assured, it looks and feels well produced and has a cool Mexican detour section toward the end (i.e., a visit to Las Alamandas Resort in Jalisco, which is between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo) and it’s a little jaunty now and then, which is fine.
But if Murray wasn’t playing the wealthy, soft-spoken, amiably rakish dad, On The Rocks probably wouldn’t work all that well. When Murray’s on screen, it’s a fun film. When he’s not, you’re waiting for him to return. The other two principals — Jones and Marlon Wayans as Jones’ successful husband — don’t have the X-factor. They’re sufficient but Murray is the only one with any real charisma.
The best scene is when a couple of Manhattan cops pull Murray over for driving recklessly in a classic red sports car (Jones is riding shotgun) and…okay, no spoilers.
Honestly? I understand that Coppola has more or less written about her own life on some level and that Jones is the stand-in and all, and that the film is self-portraiture to some degree. I get all that. But On The Rocks would’ve been better if it had been mainly about Murray and if Jones and her possibly unfaithful husband had been a side-plo of some kind.
Incidentally: Murray’s all-white hair looks perfect, but he’s also wearing a partial rug of some kind; his trademark bald spot is missing. That or he’s been to my Prague guy.
I’m still giving On The Rocks a passing grade because it’s pretty good. It never pissed me off or made me feel irritable or bored. I’m giving it an affectionate B-minus. It’s agreeable.