TL;DR – A film about broken people reliving their broken lives, day after day after day after …
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Palm Springs Review –
There have been many media properties that have attempted to recapture the joy that was the time loop in Groundhog Day. I mean even Stargate SG1 gave it a shot. However, no one has quite gotten there. Well, today we might have a contender with Palm Springs.
So to set the scene, we open in on the day of a wedding between Tala (Camila Mendes) and Abe (Tyler Hoechlin), but our focus is not with them. Instead, it is with Nyles (Andy Samberg) the boyfriend of Misty (Meredith Hagner) one of the bridesmaids. Nyles is the type of guy that will wear a Hawaiian shirt and swim pants to distinctly not beachside wedding. But still, he saves the day when Sarah (Cristin Milioti) the Maid of Honour has to make a surprise wedding speech, and she has had too much wine. It is all going swimmingly, with Nyles and Sarah about to hook up when an arrow comes out of nowhere and a masked man Joe (J.K. Simmons) starts hunting Nyles for sport. Wounded Nyles crawls into a glowing cave, and even though he asks Sarah not to follow she does, and then they both wake up at the start yesterday again.
One of the places where Palm Springs works a lot better than most of the time loops films I have watched is that it is clear from the start that Nyles has been in the loop for a long time. I probably could have done with them showing that without a very awkward sex scene, but alas. Indeed he has been in the loop so long that he has started to forget his life before. He is also like the plus one to a wedding where he does not know anyone adding to his isolation. This means that Nyles becomes the guide for Sarah when she is accidentally sucked into the time loop herself as he has gone through all the emotional baggage of the situation before. There is also a considerable difference as to how both of them wake up in the morning.
The next factor that shifts it up is the threat of chaos that Joe presents just by being there. He could show up at any moment and cause chaos, and that is always in the back of your mind. Joe is also the very personification of the poor choices that Nyles has made in life, giving a small amount of weight to the characters’ thought that it is karma that has caused all of it. It is that chaos that permeates the film, both in its narrative and also in its humour and it is what helps make this a fun movie to watch.
The next thing that sells the film is the performances. It is nice to see a movie that lets Cristin Milioti cut loose and show her incredible comedic timing. She also has one of the best ‘are you kidding me’ expressions in the business and uses it on multiple occasions here. Now if you have watched any of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, you know that Andy Samberg excels at characters that are deeply flawed yet also endearing. Well, this might be the most imperfect of those characters he has played in a while, but he still makes it work. He also has several moments to show off his strong physical comedy chops.
In the end, do we recommend Palm Springs? Well, yes, but with a couple of caveats. The first is that there is a lot of sex and language in this film, and if that is not your jam, well this will not be the film for you. However, I liked the setup, I liked the chaos, and I liked how they found an ending. If you liked Palm Springs, I can also recommend to you Happy Death Day.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Palm Springs
Directed by – Max Barbakow
Screenplay by – Andy Siara
Music by – Matthew Compton
Cinematography by – Quyen Tran
Edited by – Andrew Dickler & Matt Friedman
Production/Distribution Companies – Limelight Productions, Lonely Island Classics, Sun Entertainment, FilmNation Entertainment, Neon, Hulu & Amazon Studios
Starring – Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons, Peter Gallagher, Meredith Hagner, Camila Mendes, Tyler Hoechlin, Chris Pang, Jacqueline Obradors, June Squibb, Tongayi Chirisa, Dale Dickey, Conner O’Malley, Jena Friedman & Brian Duffy
Rating – Australia: MA15+; New Zealand: R; United Kingdom: 15; United States: R