Starring: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons
Director: Max Barbakow
Running Time: 90 mins
Palm Springs is an American film about two wedding guests who become stuck with each other in an eternal time loop, leaving them to find meaning in a day that repeats itself forever.
I loved this movie. Groundhog Day-esque time loops are fairly commonplace in Hollywood nowadays, but Palm Springs finds an ingenious way to reinvent the concept, with a smart and inventive screenplay that makes you laugh and tugs at your heartstrings all at the same time.
Right from the start of the film, you can tell that this film is taking a really different approach to a very familiar premise. The first fifteen minutes alone are nothing short of electrifying, with mystery, laughs and riveting drama all packed into an arresting opening act.
Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti are full of energy from the off too, and the film sets up their relationship perfectly in the early stages. It knows you know they’re meant to fall in love, so it doesn’t waste time with any boring will-they-won’t-they drama, but rather goes about the first stages of their relationship in uniquely offbeat fashion.
Couple that with the pair’s immense comedic skill and a screenplay that’s full of hilarious laughs, and Palm Springs is an absolute riot right from the word go. Some of the gags are familiar to what you’ll know from Groundhog Day, while others are more original – but every one of them is hugely funny.
And that’s why I really loved Palm Springs. With a concept-driven film like this, it can be all too easy to get drawn into the lore and logic of the premise (see Safety Not Guaranteed for an example), but this movie strikes a perfect balance between hilarious, light-hearted humour and genuinely gripping, innovative storytelling.
I don’t even want to spoil the way the first act unfolds here, simply because it really is such a refreshing approach to the time loop concept. Recent films like Edge Of Tomorrow and Happy Death Day have proved that with good writing, it’s a brilliant premise, but there’s something so unique and bold about the way Palm Springs goes about it right from the off that you absolutely can’t miss out on.
As the film unfolds, we learn more and more about our two main characters, and their relationship begins to change in unexpected ways as the real impact of being stuck in a time loop begins to take hold.
There’s still the brilliant humour that makes the film such a fun watch (as well as an ingenious side story as icing on the cake), but Palm Springs actually takes on a rather pensive and thought-provoking atmosphere later on, maturing rapidly from the throwaway comedy that you might have expected at first.
With a gripping analysis of the emotional impact of living a life with no consequences, as well as a heartfelt and touching portrait of two people trying to find meaning in life, this film is so much more insightful and powerful than you would ever expect, and that’s what makes it stand out so much in the genre.
Palm Springs is without a doubt the best film to use the time loop concept since Groundhog Day, and in some regards, its innovative ideas and touching drama even goes beyond the Bill Murray classic.
It’s absolutely hilarious throughout, and a really fun watch, but with genuinely gripping drama, clever writing and touching emotional depth, Palm Springs is a brilliant film from the very beginning to the very end, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.4 overall.