On the Rocks, online, 23 October 2020–31 March 2021, from £4.99 - Book now
Director Sofia Coppola reteams with her Lost in Translation star Bill Murray for her latest film, On The Rocks, a low-key farce built around the kind of escapades and hi-jinks that harken back to the golden age of screwball comedy. Set in moneyed Manhattan, Murray plays Felix, an obscenely wealthy ex-art dealer for whom the names Hockney and Monet are a part of his professional vocabulary. Rashida Jones is his daughter Laura, a writer struggling to balance her career with taking care of her young daughter, while husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) works long hours at his emerging tech start-up.
As with so many of the best screwball comedies, On The Rocks is driven by infidelity — or at least the prospect of it. Felix is a serial womaniser, so when his daughter starts to suspect that her husband is cheating on her, who better to ask for advice? Felix’s solution is a good old fashioned stake out, and much of the film’s runtime is dedicated to the pair tailing Dean around town. While activity that would usually necessitate a stealthy approach, Coppola mines laughs out of Felix’s choice of vehicle: a red vintage Alfa Romeo convertible with a tendency to backfire. And also from his choice of stake out snack: caviar.
This is a film that nails the details. From Laura’s bougie oversized Beastie Boys t-shirt to Felix’s intimate knowledge of Manhattan restaurants and their prime tables. Coppola’s best film Somewhere was also a father-daughter tale, and it is clearly a dynamic she is comfortable exploring. Sweet and specific, the gentle pleasures of On The Rocks lie in the chemistry of Murray and Jones and simply watching their characters rekindle their bond. Murray in particular is a treat to watch, leaning back into that sense of mischievous roguishness that made him a star.
On the Rocks, online