Stuck in a time loop, two wedding guests develop a budding romance while living the same day over and over again.
There have been multiple variations of the ‘time loop’ premise over the years, that is the concept where one (or more) character(s) relives the same day over and over. Some of them focus on the characters trying to figure a way out, others use it to explore how it changes the outlook characters have on life, and some are just downright nihilistic. ‘Palm Springs’ dabbles in all of those things as we follow Nyles (Andy Samberg), a man who finds himself reliving someone else’s wedding day over and over again. When he inadvertently brings Sarah (Cristin Milioti), the bride’s sister, into the ‘loop’, both characters are forced to spend time together and reckon with their fate. I really, really liked this film, finding it to be smart, inventive and funny, with two leads who have great chemistry with one another, all fit into a perfect 90 minute package.
‘Groundhog Day’ would generally be cited as the definitive movie of this genre (or subgenre), but despite my love of Bill Murray it’s not a movie I’ve ever enjoyed as much as you would think. ‘Palm Springs’ follows a similar approach to that film in that its really about two people falling in love, but the smart move this movie makes is that Sarah is caught in the loop as well. This is only 90 minutes long which keeps it fresh and prevents the constant loops from becoming tiring, but I felt it worked well because it covered so many bases and didn’t double down too hard on the characters trying to figure it all out (for example). Another reason it works so well is Samberg and Milioti who are both superb in their roles; Samberg bringing the same daft energy that we’ve seen to good effect in ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, and Milioti delivering a layered performance as Sarah, gradually revealing herself as the plot moves along. It’s a busy little film but not overwhelming and the supporting cast are used well to supplement the central duo, without taking over – J. K. Simmons the pick of the bunch.
‘Palm Springs’ is one of the best romantic comedies of recent years, a smart time loop thriller with cracking leading performances, a great soundtrack and some real heart underpinning it. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but it really draws you in and I found it really easy to fall in love with.
Directed By: Max Barbakow
Starring: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J. K. Simmons, Peter Gallagher, Meredith Hagner, Camila Mendes, Tyler Hoechlin, Chris Pang, Jacqueline Obradors, June Squibb, Jena Friedman, Tongaya Chirisa and Dale Dickey