On the Rocks

As the film went on I began to wonder to myself when did Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation) begin to make Woody Allen films? I mean, that is a bit simplistic a view, but….it is a film with quirky characters, visuals which are an ode to New York City, a male character who seems driven by his attraction to women, and witty dialogue. What other conclusion can you reach?

Married couple Laura (Rashida Jones – from television’s Parks and Recreation) and Dean (Marlon Wayans – Scary Movie, White Chicks) have settled into married life. They have two young daughters and she is a writer and he is working at a tech startup. Laura seems to be going through writer’s block as she attempts to pen her next novel while Dean is incredibly busy at work also traveling a lot. Life gets in the way and the husband and wife seem to be having trouble connecting.

It gets so that Laura believes that Dean might be having an affair. Maybe with his work partner, Fiona (Jessica Henwick – from television’s Game of Thrones), a young and attractive woman. Fuel is put on that fire when her womanizing father, Felix (Bill Murray – Moonrise Kingdom, Isle of Dogs), pushes her to look at Dean’s texts and investigate where he is at and with whom.

After first resisting, Laura goes along with it. She and her father begin following Dean around. Lurking in the shadows. Even following him on a business trip to Mexico when Laura finds out Fiona is going as well. Will she find out something which will break the family apart or will she and her father look like fools?

Solid performances by both Murray (not much that man cannot do) and Jones do not completely rescue this film, which I am not sure what its message or point was. Murray and Jones on-screen chemistry is great and when they are together it is certainly the highlight of the film. By far. But even that and their talent cannot make up for lack of oomph in the script and mise-en-scene by Coppola. Not every film has to be wham bam thank you ma’am to be engaging, but there certainly has to be something which keeps you attention or demands an investment in what is going on.

The story involved is not too bad though for 96 minutes the film seems content to go nowhere. Red herrings have been inserted every so often making you believe that something is going to happen and yet nada.

A highlight is the cinematography, by Philippe Le Sourd (The Beguiled, A Good Year) or visuals. New York looks great. Or even the family’s flats or the assorted restaurants/bars the characters go to. It is a beautiful depiction of upper class life in a city filled with interesting nooks and areas.

Film is available to stream on Apple TV+.

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