ON THE ROCKS – Review by Susan Granger

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Set in Manhattan, Sofia Coppola’s snappy comedic drama, available on Apple TV+, revolves around a meddling father, his anxious daughter and a marriage that may or may not be falling apart.

Retired high-end art dealer Felix (Bill Murray) is a suave, smooth-talking playboy; his shameless philandering destroyed his marriage to the mother of his daughter Laura (Rashida Jones).

So, naturally, when Laura suspects her husband may be cheating on her, chauvinistic Felix is the one she confides in.

Lecherous Felix wryly explains: “It’s his nature. Males are forced to fight to dominate and impregnate all females.”

After starting his own company, Laura’s ambitious husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) travels a lot. So he’s spending less and less time in their SoHo apartment with their two youngsters: school-age Maya (Liyanna Muscat) and toddler Theo (twins Alexandra/Anna Reimer).

Meanwhile, Laura is an author with writer’s block. And when Dean comes home from a London business trip, Laura finds a woman’s toiletries bag in his luggage.

Could it belong to his assistant Fiona (Jessica Henwick)? Turns out – it does. Fiona couldn’t fit it into her carry-on so Dean stuffed it into his luggage. At least, that’s how he explains its presence.

But then why is Dean so hesitant to commit to a summer vacation rental? And what’s up with his ‘sudden’ business trip to Manzanillo, Mexico?

While Rashida Jones embodies vulnerability, Bill Murray steals the show, as he did in Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” (2003), this time embodying an irresistibly endearing scoundrel who helps his daughter spy on her husband.

Obsessed with the concept of monogamy/marital fidelity, writer/director Sofia Coppola conveys her smart, sophisticated, incisive observations about men, no doubt formed by the dynastic Coppola family and her first marriage to director Spike Jonze.

With two young daughters, Coppola’s now married to musician Thomas Mars, frontman for the French synth band Phoenix, supplying the musical score.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “On the Rocks” is a deceptively sly, bittersweet 7, aimed specifically at young women.

EDITOR’S NOTE: On The Rocks is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for October 15, 2020

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.