Recommendation: A high concept romp that’s as fun as it is touching. With chemistry that pops off the screen, Palm Springs delivers an enjoyable—and oddly relevant—moviegoing experience. 8.5/10.
IMDB Synopsis: When carefree Nyles and reluctant maid of honor Sarah have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, things get complicated as they are unable to escape the venue, themselves, or each other.
Palm Springs is a high concept comedy with a Groundhog Day-esque central conceit. But would-be watchers who pass because of the resemblance are selling the film short. With an inventive—and more complex—take on the infinite time loop genre, Palm Springs offers up comedy, romance, more than a little silliness, and genuine chemistry from its leads. The 90-minute runtime ensures the concept doesn’t overstay its welcome, while the R-rating gives the film more teeth than the normal anodyne streaming fare.
Nyles (Andy Samberg) is stuck in an infinite time loop, doomed to repeat a wedding day as the guest of his ditzy girlfriend Misty (Meredith Hagnar). After having spent hundreds (thousands?) of days in the loop, Nyles unwittingly brings Sarah (Cristin Milioti), the Maid of Honor, into the time crisis. Antics ensue as Sarah navigates the rules of her new reality with Nyles as a lackadaisical, beer crackin’, wiseguy of a guide. The film is exponentially more fun with two PICs experiencing the loop as opposed to Groundhog Day or Source Code, especially with one of them being Andy Samberg who has full reign to perform his brand of comedy.
Palm Springs follows a straightforward arc from confusion to freewheeling exhilaration to existential misery that one would expect from this film trope. But the film doesn’t dip toward the melancholy as in Edge of Tomorrow, nor does it stay in the simplified territory of Groundhog Day. The film deals with the most complex thing known: an interpersonal, and many times, romantic relationships. When granted infinite lives in a bottle, the weariness that comes along changes you, and changes your view on the small world that is your life. So when someone else is thrown in, it can kickstart you, or disrupt the false reality you’ve created.
While the film’s ideas aren’t groundbreaking, the journey through them is nuanced, fun, and thought provoking. First time feature director Max Barbakow gets great buy in from the leads (really the entire cast), with Cristin Milioti outshining all. For a movie that built on the same day, it resonates with the current time of its release, with folks seemingly trapped in their own purgatory. The film posits, what will you do with the time given, even if there’s no end in sight, no consequence to our day to day life. And for that, Palm Springs has the answer.
Find it here on Hulu.
Highlights: The endless bits from Andy Samberg. JK Simmons bit role is a thing to behold.
MVP: Cristin Milioti. Cast her more, please.
Director: Max Barbakow
Studio: Amazon Studios // Release date: July 10, 2020 (Amazon)