Palm Springs Review: Charming Rom-Com With Time-Loop Twist
Movie title: Palm Springs
Movie description: Nyles (Samberg) and Sarah (Milioti) who meet at a wedding of Tala and Abe in Palm Springs. Sarah is Tala's sister and maid-of-honor while Nyles is there with his cheating girlfriend who is also a bridesmaid on Tala's wedding. What Sarah doesn't know is that Nyles is stuck in a time loop, forced to relive the same day over and over. They hook up on the night of the wedding but due to certain circumstances, Sarah ends stuck in a time loop with Nyles.
While Palms Springs is far from perfect, this rom-com with a “stuck in time loop” twist is a clever, funny, and well-written movie with two charming and likable leads that have real chemistry.
Director: Max Barbakow
Cast: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons, Peter Gallagher
How do you make a good romantic comedy? By writing real and believable characters, casting two charming and likable leads who have real chemistry together and giving them good material to work with. And that is exactly the case with Palm Springs, a romantic comedy with a “stuck in time loop” twist.
Palm Springs is a romantic comedy about two strangers Nyles (Samberg) and Sarah (Milioti) who meet at a wedding of Tala and Abe in Palm Springs. Sarah is Tala’s sister and maid-of-honor while Nyles is there with his cheating girlfriend who is also a bridesmaid on Tala’s wedding. What Sarah doesn’t know is that Nyles is stuck in a time loop, forced to relive the same day over and over. They hook up on the night of the wedding but due to certain circumstances, Sarah ends stuck in a time loop with Nyles. Directed by newcomer Max Barbakow and written by Andy Siara, Palm Springs premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020 to overwhelmingly positive reviews and was released digitally on Hulu on July 10, 2020.
Palm Springs may seem like a cheap, cliched Groundhog Day rip-off without much to say but it isn’t. After other time loop movies like Edge of Tomorrow, Source Code, and Happy Death Day, Palm Springs offers a twist on this formula by having two characters stuck in this time loop. Nyles has been reliving the same day for a very long time (days, weeks, months), and now guides Sarah who is, just like us, a newcomer. Nyles tried everything and committed suicide numerous times but whatever he does he can’t escape this endless loop. Palm Springs doesn’t lay its cards immediately but reveals new information or piece of the puzzle every now and then keeping us interested. While Samberg’s Nyles is a slacker that falls for Sarah and accepts being stuck in this neverending loop with her, Milioti’s Sarah can’t accept this fact and tries everything to break from it. Sarah, a black sheep of the family, is a smart, and sarcastic woman that drinks and sleeps around. She also did something terrible and, just like the rest of us, is far from a perfect human being. She’s not your typical rom-com paper-thin lead but a flawed character.
If you’re hesitant about checking out Palm Springs because you’re not a fan of romantic comedies or not a fan of its two leads, neither am I. Actually I hate romantic comedies and I’m not the biggest fan of Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Hot Rod). But here he tones down his goofiness and gives us his best performance yet – it’s not awards-worthy but he’s more than good for this type of movie. Even better is Cristin Milioti (Black Mirror, How I Met Your Mother) who displays a wide emotional range and has real chemistry with Samberg. They are excellent together and I hope we’ll see more of their pairings.
While Palms Springs is far from perfect, it is a well-made, clever, charming, and funny rom-com with two excellent leads.
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