Let’s get stuck in a loop.
In Palm Springs we follow Nyles (Andy Samberg) who is stuck reliving the same day over and over. The day in question is at his girlfriend’s friend’s wedding, so at least he’s on vacation?
After trying to seduce Sarah, the bride’s sister (Critin Milioti), he is attacked by Roy (J.K. Simmons) and in an effort to help Nyles, Sarah is sucked into the time loop. Now stuck together for eternity, Sarah and Nyles must face either nihilism or something else, and maybe they’ll learn something in the process. We all know that these two are going to eventually fall for one another. The question is whether this romantic comedy does anything different from other examples in the genre.
I’ve realized that I’m not great at discussing romantic comedies. As a genre, I just don’t watch many of these. However, I think you could sum this one up as a quirky rom com with some unexpected twists. However, the film starts to feel familiar long before the credits roll. Just because a narrative is derivative does not mean it is necessarily going to be bad. The film is made competently, and with two charming leads it propels the narrative forward through sometimes too familiar territory.
The absurdist humor of being in a time loop allows this one to take things a bit further than most comedies. To put it bluntly, jokes ending in death aren’t that big of a deal here. We also get some awesome J.K. Simmons on a coke bender humor, so there’s that.
The film awkwardly dances around genres before settling deeply into romantic comedy. Almost all of the dramatic elements are dropped in the too long final act where the ending we all know is coming finally arrives. We get hints at existential and moral questions, but they don’t go anywhere. I’ve seen this compared to Groundhog Day, and I personally think neither film delves too deeply into any real discussion. (See The Endless for that).
However, this is a comedy and I am wanting a drama (see how I am bad reviewer for this?). The film is funny and has several laugh-out-loud moments. Unfortunately, I think the funniest bits are in the first thirty minutes. We get to watch two people simply have fun with their entrapment (and odd immortality) and Samberg can make any funny situation funnier. The problem is that this one tries to be more than it is comfortable being, and we end up with overlong scenes that could have been cut down.
For a film that literally has all the time in the world it sure takes its time having the characters truly grow. Even then, it all seems a little too convenient. With such a predictable end we could have cut 15 minutes of angst and allowed a tighter and funnier experience to flourish.
I liked the movie but didn’t love it. It is a fun and relaxing one to watch and you don’t have to think too hard. It meets its goals as a genre film.
Give it a watch if you have Hulu. It is a nice way to spend the evening.