I’m sure the title alone gives you an indication of what this movie is about to some degree.
If you have questions as to why you can’t help but continue to watch, outside of this brilliant cast, look no further than into a scene with our protagonist, Laura, played by Rashida Jones, and an older woman she meets at a party. The scene is about an hour in, and, not knowing she’s about to receive it, the woman offers Laura the advice and wisdom she has been looking for when she’s at her most desperate hour.
The woman asks Laura if she’s married. It’s a simple question and, not wanting to get into a discussion about marriage with anyone, let alone a stranger, her answer is terse. Then the woman communicates to her that marriage is like a bank. She says, ‘You make deposits for the first twenty or thirty years, and then after that, you have all this interest built up, and you can start making withdrawals.’ Laura thinks about this. She wants to run, but before she goes, the woman imparts one more bit of, we’ll say life experience on her, ‘Don’t forget the cost derivatives.’ So, what is the value, the security, or the dangers in a marriage? Those questions are exactly what is being played out, asked, and answered, with extreme precision, in this film.
I particularly appreciated the pain and the pressure the audience was made to feel throughout the film. You will, too. We get to know and like Laura, who’s going through life as a wife and mother of two. She’s a writer with a wealthy, eccentric, and philandering father, Felix, played by Bill Murry, who, years ago due to his playing around, was kicked to the curb by her mother. She also has a good friend named Vanessa (Jenny Slate), who has so many boyfriend issues that she isn’t about to notice anyone else possibly needing to vent.
Problems begin to mount when yet another rears its ugly head. Like her father before him, is her husband, Dean, played by the seldom-seen Marlon Wayans, cheating on her? There are many indications that he is. Her hunch and her imagination are beginning to run away with her. Felix, an older man with less going on in life, knows the signs, and he decides to pry his way back into seeing his daughter more often by the suggestion she’s right and by helping her catch Dean in the act.
Congratulations to Coppola for making it so easy for us to be in Laura’s shoes. Never once will you doubt Deans’ guilt. Her directing was spot-on accurate to the point that you despise Wayans’ character, misconduct proven or not. With hardly any information to go on, only innuendo from her father, who was very adept at doing what he wants his daughter to believe is happening to her; we are simply on her side with no real proof.
I liked the script. I enjoyed the story and how it unraveled, but one thing could have been done better or deleted all together… Vanessa. Yes, she’s there to show us what a kind person Laura is to tolerate a constant yapper when she has nothing to give anymore, but the role is vapid and banal and just not necessary. It’s almost as if Coppola threw her in to give an actress a part to play. If it doesn’t help the storyline, please don’t.
On the Rocks
Director: Sofia Coppola
Writer: Sofia Coppola
Stars: Bill Murray, Rashida Jones, Marlon Wayans, Jenny Slate
Running Time: 1h 36m
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Drama