Review: ‘Palm Springs,’ a perfect time-loop comedy for the pandemic

Repeating the same day over and over again sounds dreadful, but “Palms Springs” would beg to disagree. Although the world is not in a constant time loop like the one driving the film, it may feel like one with the COVID-19 pandemic. The movie, however, suggests that it is possible to live life with excitement during times of uncertainty.

“Palm Springs,” the debut film of Max Barbakow, is written and produced by the comedic pop-music trio The Lonely Island. Taking inspiration from the 1993 classic, “Groundhog Day,” this film adds a new and exciting twist with its unusual sci-fi elements.

The movie follows Nyles (Andy Samberg) and drunk maid of honor Sarah (Cristin Miloti), who meet at a wedding. Nyles, dressed in a red Hawaiian shirt and yellow shorts for the formal ceremony, seems almost bored and unimpressed with the day. It isn’t until Nyles steps in to save Sarah from making a drunken wedding toast that things start to pick up.

Though the film opens with a light comedic tone, it quickly takes a turn when Nyles and Sarah find themselves stuck in a time loop. The two main characters naturally grow frustrated with each other throughout the film. This dynamic is best demonstrated through the clashes between Nyles, who is well-adjusted to being stuck in a time loop, and Sarah, who wants nothing more than to escape the situation. But the initial dislike the two leads have as strangers stuck in a time, eventually evolves into a compelling relationship.

Samberg and Milioti have an undeniable chemistry that makes the audience beg for more. Their ability to effortlessly capture the goofs and thrills of the story is what makes the audience wonder if we would be content repeating the same day with a person we love, whether it be in a never-ending, fictional time loop or locked behind our own shut doors.

Something that this rom-com gets right from the start is answering many of the questions that arise about how the time loop works, which even continues after the credits scenes. This keeps “Palm Springs” exciting and keeps the viewers always wanting to know more about the film’s story development.

Stuck in an inescapable time loop together, the two characters begin revealing their deepest secrets, which keeps their day-to-day life more interesting. The movie does a great job of showcasing how these characters are living life to the fullest every day, despite their circumstances. This film feels more relevant to viewers today, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic forces people to feel like they’re stuck in a time loop of daily routines.

It’s the complex love story, the tight story development and the unusual sci-fi element that make this film a must-watch. The film is available to stream on Hulu and in select drive-in theaters in Southern California.

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