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Movie Review: 'On The Rocks' Is 90 Minutes Of Charm

It seems like everything these days has to be the “best” or the “most,” or people decide it’s not worth paying attention to. Calm down, everyone—a well made cream puff isn’t a hearty meal, but I’m still going to eat the heck out of it.


Sofia Coppola’s new movie On the Rocks is not the best or the most anything, but that’s also not at all what she’s going for. This is a confection made by a skilled filmmaker with enjoyable people—it’s basically just 90 thoroughly charming minutes. Bring me that cream puff.


On the Rocks stars Rashida Jones as a married mother who begins to suspect her husband may be cheating on her with his coworker. She drops a hint to her father, played by Bill Murray, and he runs with it, certain the man is cheating, because it’s exactly what he would be doing.


Rashida Jones is always so comfortable to be around, with such an ease and authenticity. And I thought maybe we’d gotten to the point in Bill Murray’s career where he was just going to be “Bill Murray” from here on out, which would have been fine. And he’s not exactly not that, but he’s also about as disarming as I can remember. His character is, ultimately, one of the most absurd people you’ve ever met, an entirely self-absorbed cad, but he’s so irresistibly persuasive that even though you know he’s full of it, he makes you also want to be full of whatever “it” is.


And the magic of On the Rocks is there between Jones and Murray. I absolutely bought them as daughter and father, they feel like they’ve been doing this dance their whole lives—he’s ridiculous but obviously loves her, and she knows exactly who her father is and is exasperated, frustrated, and delighted by him.


Sofia Coppola, for her part, knows not to get in their way. That she knows how to do that is a testament to her ability, and that she’s not aiming higher is part of what makes it all so much fun. Coppola has made more substantial movies, and will again. But sometimes, you just gotta treat yourself.

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.