On the Rocks (4 stars)

On the Rocks

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones are an irresistible double act in Sofia Coppola's caper

'Can you act a little less excited about this? Cos this is my life and it might be falling apart,' an exasperated writer tells her immature playboy father. The pair have embarked on a quest to expose her possibly adulterous spouse and only one of them is enjoying it. The seventh feature from Sofia Coppola reunites the writer-director with Bill Murray, this time playing a man with plenty of pep in his step; he's teamed with a wrung-out Rashida Jones, resulting in an irresistible double act.

A couple of highly fishy incidents lead Laura (Jones) to conclude that her busy, tech entrepreneur husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) could be cheating with a colleague. Preoccupied with caring for her two young children and creatively blocked, she's not seeing things with much clarity, so pushes her worries to one side. However, when she confides in her womanising father Felix (Murray) he begins stoking her suspicions, largely based on his own terrible track record.

Gloriously glossy, On the Rocks is set in an unashamedly affluent world of enviable office set-ups, fancy restaurants, exotic business trips, and snacking on obscene quantities of caviar in a sports car inexplicably hired for a clandestine pursuit. Yet the way it presents Laura's exhausting routine of juggling work, childcare and trying to keep her marriage vaguely alive is relatable and, while the concept of father-daughter detective work is very cute, there's enough soul-searching and recriminations to add substance.

Although the film soars comedically every time Murray is on screen, it's grounded dramatically by a believably knackered Jones, who also has a nice line in put-downs ('You are such a baby,' she witheringly tells Felix); Laura's nose wrinkles and her eyes roll in response to her father's flirtations and overshared exploits ('The Corsican wanted me to pull her hair hard and that just wasn't me,' he complains).

If it doesn't quite move you like Lost in Translation did, it's certainly fun seeing Murray as a slightly sleazier character and the film is honest about the stock a proud feminist, trying to raise two similarly empowered girls, puts in her desirability. It also shows the way Laura's outlook has been warped by the actions of her incorrigible father, and why he might still mean the world to her.

Available to watch in cinemas from Fri 2 Oct and on Apple TV+ from Fri 23 Oct.

On the Rocks

  • 4 stars
  • 2020
  • US
  • 1h 36min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Sofia Coppola
  • Cast: Bill Murray, Rashida Jones, Marlon Wayans

Comedy-drama set in New York about a young mother reconnecting with her outlandish, playboy father, who sows seeds of doubt about her own marriage.