Palm Springs (2020)
“Palm Springs” stars Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Peter Gallagher, and J. K. Simmons. Released on July 10, 2020, the film has two strangers getting stuck in a time loop.
The film featured the directorial debut of Max Barbakow. Being doomed to repeat the same day over and over again can be a living nightmare. Good thing you don’t have to suffer alone. The “time loop” concept isn’t anything too special as it had been explored numerous times in movies and television shows, with the prime examples being “Groundhog Day” and the “Happy Death Day” films. Having to watch someone relive the same day repeatedly does sound boring at first, but the filmmakers usually find a way to make the concept more enjoyable in order to avoid maximum repetitiveness. This film, in particular, may have a chance to be one of those examples. I was a little late in checking out this film because I didn’t use Hulu that much due to its ad-supported option. Seriously, why did they think it’s a good idea to put ads on Hulu when the other streaming services don’t have them? It’s defeating the purpose of binge-watching. Anyway, I was able to get it back when my father wanted me to upgrade to the Disney+ bundle, which consists of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, so that he can watch one of Hulu’s original shows, “Little Fires Everywhere”. With Hulu now back in my streaming services list, I was now able to look at some of its original content that I’ve been missing, starting with the romantic comedy with a time loop twist. Let’s see if this film is actually worth my time.
The story follows two strangers, carefree Nyles (Samberg) and maid-of-honor Sarah Wilder (Milioti). They take part in a Palm Springs wedding between Sarah’s sister Tala (Camila Mendes) and Abe (Tyler Hoechlin). They soon come across a mysterious light that traps them in a never-ending time loop, forcing them to relive the wedding day. As they went through one mishap after another, they’ll realize that reliving the same day together could bring out the best of one another. The plot almost resembles the one in “Groundhog Day”, but instead of a time loop taking place on the holiday, it takes place on a wedding day. I guess the filmmakers decided to not name the movie “Wedding Day” in order to avoid getting classified as a standalone sequel to the Bill Murray classic. Based on the poster alone, it does appear to be a typical rom-com that offers nothing but a bunch of time loop elements and cheesy humor (and is produced by the members of The Lonely Island), but after finally watching it for the first time, I’m surprised to say that it offered more than just those two things. This is another time loop film that keeps itself consistently funny and entertaining without being a mundane waste, but it is also a charming and somehow bizarre tale about the importance of life. The story itself had a couple of troupes that we normally see in the other romantic comedies. However, first-time director Max Barbakow was able to make those tropes work by maintaining the limits of the two genres and providing a sense of endearment and believability in the main characters and their chemistry onscreen. Andy Siara’s screenplay was also well-executed in terms of the film’s fresh and metaphoric perspective of the concept. While I won’t say why because I want you newcomers to experience it for yourselves, I will say that I was surprised that it went in that direction during the first act. Samberg and Milioti were the best parts of the film because of their remarkable performances and their irresistible chemistry. Samberg is another comedian who proved that they can act in anything outside of their usual comedy routine. While he remains as likable and funny as always in his role as Nyles, it’s the dramatic side of his performance that won me over. Cristin Milioti, who is known for her role in “How I Met Your Mother”, also delivered an impressive performance as Sarah, and J. K. Simmons was just as talented as ever as Roy. As for the comedy and the romance in general, the former took a little while to get itself going, and once it did, it’s nothing but smooth sailing. Whether it’s from the mishaps the characters were in or the dialogue between them, the humor delivered a near-perfect balance between hilarity and sweetness. The romance aspect, despite not being a huge fan of the genre, was able to keep me engaged long enough for me to care about the two main characters being together.
Overall, “Palm Springs” is a refreshing and heartfelt rom-com that reminds us that even though we’re stuck reliving the same day over and over again, life is definitely worth living. Not only was the time loop element fun to watch, but the comedy and the romance aspects were suitable enough to carry the film’s delightful story out of some of its usual rom-com cliches. Thanks to the chemistry between Samberg and Milioti, Barbakow’s sense of direction, and its satisfying script, the film will make plenty of rom-com fans fall in love with it over and over again. It’s available to watch on Hulu as of this writing, so if you haven’t seen it yet and you have a Hulu subscription, it’s definitely worth checking out.
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