If you think you’ve had enough monotony in your life — quarantine tends to have that effect — try being caught in a literal time loop. As American actor Andy Samberg so wisely says, “Today is yesterday. And yesterday is also today.”
Directed by Max Barbakow, “Palm Springs” is a 2020 Hulu original film that is as lighthearted as it is raunchy. The rom-com centers around “Brooklyn-99” star Andy Samberg and “How I Met Your Mother” actress Cristin Milioti, who are quite the dynamic duo in the film.
Milioti’s character, Sarah, is a no-nonsense individual whose melodramatic tendencies make for engrossing interactions and unpredictability. Samberg plays Nyles, a fun loving, carefree individual who wants to do everything — and everyone — life has to offer. As the film goes on, you start to see how they balance each other out.
The movie starts off with Nyles waking up to his girlfriend Misty — played by Meredith Hagner — getting ready for the day. The two are in Palm Springs, California for a friend's wedding. Unfortunately, Nyles has been caught in a time loop for an unspecified amount of time — long enough for him to forget everything about his past. Sarah, the bride's older sister, takes notice of Nyles and ultimately becomes caught in the same loop.
The first 10-15 minutes of the film are chaotic, to say the least. Nyles’ irrational behavior is representative of his decaying sanity. I mean, how would you act if the date on the calendar never changed?
During his time in the loop, he shows up to the wedding in a Hawaiian shirt and swim trunks, throws back a few too many beers and gives a speech that somehow manages to be meaningful and meaningless at the same time.
The movie continues with existential discussions, including one relating a candy bar to the past and present, an absurd hallucination that makes you wonder what the producers were taking and a montage of dumb decisions with a lovers’ quarrel. Not a single dull moment.
Unsurprisingly, the film made over $17 million at the Sundance Film Festival, the highest selling in their history. Despite the predictable moments, all the bickering and the fact that the time loop concept has been infinitely repeated in the entertainment business, the main characters are well-rounded and the chemistry is impeccable.
The groom, played by Tyler Hoechlin from “Teen Wolf,” is so over the top, you’d think he stepped right out of a cartoon. However, the bride, played by Camila Mendez from “Riverdale,” was more comparable to a smiling prop. Despite this, the witty dialogue is guaranteed to make you chuckle, and the plot is well-developed. The beginning of the movie might feel plotless, but I swear it’s there.
A noticeable downside to the film was the pacing. The conversations, while packed tight with silly comebacks — mom jokes may have been used — often dragged on. Meaningful conversations which drove the plot soon became incomprehensible babbling. But, as I reached the verge of losing interest, something would happen to bring me back into the moment. Overall, the hour and 40 minute comedy seemed to fly by.
“Palm Springs” might not be the kind of film you play on repeat, but if you want to feel a little better about your mundane life, it’ll be worth the time. If not today, there’s always tomorrow.