July 13, 2020

SCREEN | Andy Samberg Lives Hard – 'Palm Springs' Resets

"It's one of those infinite time loop situations you might've heard about."
Andy Samberg Cristin Milioti Max Barbakow | Palm Springs Hulu | The Lonely Island
Neon / Limelight
Set at the titular California desert resort city over a destination wedding weekend, Palm Springs uses the Groundhog Day repeating day, time loop conceit to mine tons of very highly enjoyable comedy. Starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, a bridesmaid's boyfriend (Nyles) and the bride's sister (Sarah), as wedding guests inexplicably stuck repeating the same day over and over again, first-time director Max Barbakow makes hay of his material.

Produced independently by Samberg and his The Lonely Island partners, the new Hulu feature makes the well-worn déjà vu premise rather sweet but still inventive. Both Samberg and Milioti savour their sardonic, dirtbag characters with such playful verve. She is a messy delight while Samberg both goes beyond while simultaneously embraces his man-child persona for a darker, more mature demeanour.

Palm Springs also works as a rather touching romantic comedy about two black sheep types bonding over shared experiences as they start to enjoy their day(s) together—even giving each other penis tattoos. As Nyles realizes, they have no choice but to live.

Andy Samberg Cristin Milioti Max Barbakow | Palm Springs Hulu | The Lonely Island

Andy Siara's script riffs and embraces familiar time loop conventions while finding clever ways to reinvent different aspects of the formula. Enter J.K. Simmons in a truly bonkers yet endlessly fun subplot as another random party guest who accidentally gets roped into Nyle's repeating day after a night of cocaine-fuelled debauchery and now tortures him (seriously) as a result of his newly doomed fate.

The remote desert setting further provides an interesting location for their silly antics and eventual epiphanies. Everything feels very lived-in with stark details we can notice as the day repeats. In particular, we see how it takes an emotional toll on our characters

Palm Springs is destined to be watched over and over again, repeatedly. It also happens to be a decent metaphor for marriage and romantic commitment itself while riffing on the whole "rest of your life" thing. Absurd but charming, the introspective comedy truly twists expectations for a subversive adventure.

Update: Palm Springs is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in Canada.

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