Movie Review: Palm Springs

In our new coronavirus reality where each day looks remarkably similar to the last, the release of Andy Samberg’s (TV’s SNL and BROOKLYN NINE-NINE) newest film is not only prescient, it’s also a welcome, 90-minute escape.

In PALM SPRINGS, Nyles’ (Samberg) girlfriend, Misty (Meredith Hagner, IRRATIONAL MAN; TV’s SEARCH PARTY), is a bridesmaid at Tala & Abe’s destination wedding at a Palm Springs resort. On this happy day, everyone is busy getting ready for the wedding except Nyles, who chills in the pool. At the event, he arrives in the same clothes he’s been wearing all day and seems to have an uncanny knack of knowing exactly what’s going to happen next. His unconventional behaviour catches the eye of Tala’s older sister, Sarah (Grammy® winner Cristin Milloti, TV’s HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER), who’s clearly faking her happiness for her sister. The pair take off for the desert and everything is going well until Roy (J.K. Simmons, 21 BRIDGES; the latest SPIDER-MAN franchise; LA LA LAND; TERMINATOR: GENISYS; WHIPLASH) suddenly shows up dressed as a Hallowe’en ninja and shoots Nyles with a bow and arrow. Seriously injured, Nyles heads for a nearby cave and Sarah follows where she encounters a strange, cosmic force. The next thing she knows, Sarah wakes up in her bed at the resort. Outside her room, she can hear everyone getting ready for Tala & Abe’s wedding.

The comparison to GROUNDHOG DAY is obvious but PALM SPRINGS screenwriter Andy Siara puts three characters on the hamster wheel of infinite time instead of just one. He even makes a reference to that comedy classic when Sarah tells Nyles that she’s going to do something selfless because, she thinks, it will get her out of the loop. Nyles, who has been stuck in limbo for who knows how long, already knows that resistance is futile and has resigned himself to making the best of a bad situation. Roy, meanwhile, just wants revenge.

Samberg fans will no doubt love this film. I put him in the same box as Adam Sandler but I’ll admit that his performance here is enjoyable. Milloti, though, is the film’s star as she gets PALM SPRINGS’ biggest laughs. Before the pandemic hit, Milloti was working on a new TV series entitled MADE OF LOVE. I’ll have to check it out if we ever get out of the time loop that we’re all in.

PALM SPRINGS is currently available exclusively on Hulu.

Watch the review recorded on Facebook Live on Friday, July 17th, 8:30 am HK time!

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