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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

On the Rocks (M) - 97 minutes

Much ado about nothing or a quirky film of substance?

Having seen it, my strong inclination is to the former of the two propositions.

Suspicion is a dangerous thing. Often it is realised. Sometimes it is not. It can drive a person crazy.

Laura (Rashida Jones) is an author – a loving mother of two and wife in her late 30s – with a case of writer’s block.

She is married to Dean (Marlon Wayans), who is perpetually busy running – and generating business for – a new company, which results in frequent trips away from their New York home.

On return from one such “excursion”, an unusual incident in their bedroom causes Laura to question why what happened did and whether there was more to it.

And then there’s the discovery of a girly, girly toiletry bag in his luggage that isn’t hers.

Her father, Felix (Bill Murray) – a former gallery owner and art connoisseur, who is a notorious womaniser – adds fuel to the fire.

Love Laura and his granddaughters dearly, which this smooth talker undoubtedly does, he has a Neanderthal view of women.

Make no mistake, he firmly believes Dean is playing around ... with a pretty member of his team, Fiona (Jessica Henwick).

He draws Laura into his web of sleuthing.

I am afraid that I found the plotting in On The Rocks transparent and lacking oomph.

Put simply, the film was nowhere near engaging enough. Rather, it was much flatter than it should have been.

There were no real surprises. Instead, I was fed the obvious.

A movie about questioning the trajectory of one’s marriage and the issue of trust should have made for rich pickings, dramatic and comedic, but it didn’t.

The dialogue felt forced.

Bill Murray dined out on his usual left of centre character schtick.

Rashida Jones was pleasant but hardly inspiring. Her character arc didn’t allow for it.

And the constant reference back to a ditsy fellow mother, Vanessa (Jenny Slate), whose role was simply to be annoying, added nothing ... other than annoyance on my part.

I am afraid this is a misstep in Sofia Coppola’s career (she was both writer and director) because, truth is, the film lacks substance.

To be uncharitable, arguably the best thing I can say about On The Rocks is that it remains true to its title, notwithstanding the occasional brighter moment.

Rated M, it scores a 6 out of 10.


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