• Nate Adams

Review: Bill Murray and Rashida Jones help Sofia Coppola's 'On The Rocks' go down smoothly


Courtesy of A24/Apple

Over the span of two decades, Sofia Coppola's directing career has delivered a wide variety of titles from “The Virgin Suicides” to “Lost In Translation.” Each film is embedded with characters searching for deeper truths or hidden connections. Reteaming with “Translation” star Bill Murray for the first time in over 15 years (the last role that earned him an Oscar nomination) as Felix, a wealthy bureaucrat trying to help his daughter uncover the truth about her, maybe, cheating husband is perfect fodder for the filmmaker. 


So goes the rub of “On The Rocks,” a charming father-daughter tale about rekindling fractured relationships and understanding the frazzles life can throw at you. The always impressionable Rashida Jones is Laura, a New York writer/mother who spends her days juggling school-aged children and the novel she can’t seem to crack. Something is off, but she doesn't know what it is and when her seemingly devoted husband, Dean (Marlon Waynes), comes home from a business trip with women’s toiletries in his luggage, she suspects foul play. 


Enter Felix (Murray) locked and loaded, ready to offer his opinion (and connections) on the subject. One of the cities most eligible bachelors, whose career as an international art dealer allows plenty of time for behind the scenes shenanigans, Felix wastes no time rolling up in his prized Alfa Romeo to tail Dean (with caviar on hand for snacks). You can tell he loves the marital distress and it’s a thorn in Laura’s side, but Coppola weaves through the narrative to try and offer solutions. 


Even if the stakes in “On The Rocks” aren’t really that crucial, the warmth and camaraderie among Jones and Murray helps the picture go down swimmingly. This isn’t the emotionally fraught and vulnerable Murray audiences were treated to in 2003; as Felix is a much breezier personality with some moral flaws (he’s a bachelor for a reason) but one thing is for certain, he loves his daughter. 


Coppola’s script is peppered with fun, conversational tidbits that allows her two leads ample time to feel the energy in the room and find those tender, loving moments. Waynes shows up occasionally to prove he’s got range beyond lowbrow comedies, though it’s Murray who seems most at home playing the coy businessmen with a phone number for any situation. Watching him and Jones try to crack the case is pure delight with the broader scope of “On The Rocks” best served shaken, not stirred. 


Grade: B


ON THE ROCKS will open in select theaters and drive-ins starting Friday October 2nd before streaming exclusively on Apple TV+ October 23rd. Check your local listings.