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“On The Rocks” Review: Of Right Aesthetics & A Lot Of Horseshit Just Pouring From Mouths Like The Victoria Falls

All that smoke, how does that not equate to fire?

‘ON THE ROCKS’ is an hour-thirty mumbo-jumbo movie that follows a young married couple. The two are navigating through not only the bustles of fast-city-New-York-life, that’s oddly calm and almost monotone, but also explores one of the most common insecurities one can ever go through in a relationship and the Electra complex but in a much modern way of thinking as opposed to the ancient radical Freudian perspective.

What does this mean? This means despite the dimly coloured hue of their everyday life that will probably get you thinking twice about your choice of movie, it is the brightly coloured and rather interestingly, ear-perking conversation and dialogue embedded through the lining of the length of this comedy-drama that’ll keep you hooked and fiending for more till the very end.

Watching a movie is a lot like going on a blind date. They may look good with the right aesthetics but also on the flip side, having a lot of horseshit just pouring from their mouth like the Victoria Falls. And that, ladies and gents, is a no-brainer because I’m no Yes-man. If the carpet doesn’t match the drapes, then oh boy, what initially seemed so straight will take a turn with the quickness. The same goes with the movie-watching: it’s not supposed to just be a movie, (even if it’s just a movie) the idea is to add some substance into it, ultimately allowing for the exploration and revelation of the human condition and this thing called life, because as much as one tries, there’s really no escaping it, even when you tune in for an hour and thirty to catch some cinema.

This movie allows and draws the audience in through carefully crafted dialogue that almost sets your mind off racing with thoughts drawing from your past experience, prior knowledge, and (even though you might not like to admit) the facts. We follow this woman, (whose name clearly wasn’t impressive or reiterated enough for me to catch it after whole hour-thirty minutes of watching the damn movie, bear in mind I have a knack for these things, my movie partner can testify) as she battles with her own demons of insecurities largely stemming from her daddy issues. If you can even call it that, I mean the dad switches between classic, retro benzos (please note, not the pills, and despite that, still had my movie partner drooling), and even more retro-classic convertibles, and sponsors trips to Mexico overnight like he’s ordering take out.

The spiral all starts when Dean (played by Marlon Wayans) minus his usual crazy colourful, overzealous antics that have grown to be synonymous with him, whilst loopy over Xanax alludes to having a sexual fantasy much better than his reality AKA his wife, whom in the scene was right under him. This is followed by a series of other findings that will have anyone convinced that mans really was cheating and unfaithful, with a powerful Exhibit A of a women’s toiletry bag that was in his luggage, the late work nights, the out-of-the-blue work trips, the long legs spotted on a certain Fiona aka Miss Toiletries, a new workmate who showed up on the scene and set off the sequence of dominoes. I mean, mans was even switching up phone security passwords and acting all weird.

All that smoke, how does that not equate to fire?

If there’s one thing I learnt from this movie is that just because you have all the ingredients doesn’t mean you have to bake a cake. And most importantly, smoke doesn’t always mean fire, It could be pollution, heck climate change is real people! Consequently, infidelity was not the case. Instead, it was a whole three-course meal of a culmination of insecurities fused with daddy issues aka the Electra complex, in a sequence of unresolved past problems/trauma and unanswered questions, served in a big plate of seeking closure as a result of stagnation, with a dash of an identity crisis as the starters, and self-torture and turmoil in the most relaxed and unbothered of ways for desert, to really spice things up, and it just so happened to be served by the husband, Dean’s dead ringer. That wasn’t really him despite the plausible likeness presented to us, as that’s just a classic coincidence as it turns out. Unless if they lied to us, then that just presents another whole debacle.

As the plot thickens, we come to learn that said woman – Laura (played by Rashida Jones)’s parents separated due to her dad’s infidelity when she was only little. Now before you paint this movie with a sappy sad colour brush, please note that nothing about this movie is sad. Because:

A. this is one movie in which the main female character isn’t portrayed as this broken down, unfeathered and plucked out bird who’s at wit’s end due to the possibility of a cheating scandal rocking the boat, she’s so composed as she finds all these clues like she’s heading a treasure hunt with no damn worry in the world.

B. there’s insightful nuggets of knowledge littered all over the dialogue between father and daughter, Aand

C. the dad is a womanizing rock star that you know you’re not supposed to like but do either way.

Exhibit A, “don’t give your heart to any boys. You are mine. Until you get married. Then you are still mine”.

So I mean, I guess Laura grew up with the knowledge that the very same man you love with all your heart may easily just as well be the very same man who breaks your heart and judging from their father-daughter relationship, it’s not always the end of the world. You just have to rip the band-aid off.

Laura even says things like “the bangle is a reminder that women were once men’s property”, and you can’t even be mad at him, because he’s merely putting to words and verbalizing the belief system of ‘the brotherhood of Males’ that manifests itself through their actions. In that scene, it’s something about the demeanour he takes when articulating said quote that just tells us that he’s simply saying out loud what a lot of his fellow species of the brotherhood seemingly communicate sometimes via actions. Thus only making him the certified mouthpiece, that’s nicely notorious for its philandering, charmer ways. If there was ever to be certification awarded for being one slick, skilful, strategic and charming philanderer, this guy would have a Masters.

Speaking on behalf of the brotherhood, Laura’s dad Felix (played by Bill Murray) imparts to us

“He’s a man, it’s nature. Males are forced to fight to dominate and to impregnate all females.”

Laura had grown accustomed to her rock star dad writing such eccentric songs like such isn’t astonished much, thus leaving it to the Russian ballerina waitress awkwardly standing there to be the representation of the world’s rage to such chauvinistic sounding like words (which she does terribly, by the way).

At some point in the movie, Felix remarks “…a woman’s at her most beautiful between the ages 35 and 39-” to which Laura responds –“Great, so I have many months left”.

Felix, albeit, doesn’t allow a heckling fan to disrupt the set of his song, and so he continues

“Women are like flowers, they’re all beautiful at any age, even dried flowers, I don’t know why women get plastic surgery.”

“Because of men like you” Laura heckles further.

“I prefer the factory original,” he says and drops the mic to a chanting crowd of fans, “Encore! Encore! Encore!”

We scream to a retiring rock star retreating from the stage.

Plucking bird feathers for clout,

They take us out.

We soar, that’s why they call us birds,

And still they sought us out.

As much as we can reach the great skies,

We’re the most vulnerable of creatures still,

Because of the vultures and eagles circling too.

There’s a blatant blind eye that’s turned to the pain,

hurt and rewiring that’s caused,

They watch you like a hawk, so by the time they cross your path,

They can easily take you out.

The blind eye, is a by-product of the chase for clout

And hath no regard at all, for how it darkens thy cloud

And sets off a heavy-weighted downpour,

That wears one out, ripping your heart out,

Whilst they tout off on their white horses

And you can’t retort,

Because you can’t breathe without a heart.

Tarisai Krystal

A femme fatale who harbours aspirations in everything and anything that allows her to create. An avid music listener, a sucker for a good story. A creative who’s passionate about empowerment, expression, and consciousness.

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