Please, please, not another raunchy SNL skit made into a movie! Yet, for the first half of Palm Springs, it’s just another R-rated version of Groundhog Day. Then, somewhat surprisingly, these “immortals” get a Big Bang Theory assist. Palm Springs becomes “wacky, inventive,” and sweet. Our two cynics, trapped in a time loop, are first resigned to a life of self-destruction, pretending not to care. But, as the days go by, feelings emerge. One wants to escape the loop; the other doesn’t want to lose their connection. Love presents the classic conundrum. Still somewhat unforgiving of a poor start, I give Palm Springs 3.5 Gavels. Rotten Tomatoes is more magnanimous with a 93% rating and the Audience agrees with a score of 90%.
Nyles wakes up every day dreading the wedding of Abe and Tala. Tala’s sister, Sarah, has the same problem. The meeting of these souls was bound to happen. Newer to the time loop, Sarah struggles to understand the inevitability of it all. Nyles patiently teaches her the futility of the struggle to escape. Sarah is sucked deeper and deeper into the pernicious loop until one day she learns a secret she can no longer abide. Despite the consequences, she must break out.
Like Will Ferrell, I’m typically not a fan of Andy Samburg‘s work. But, like Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love, Palm Springs shows he has some ability to stretch beyond his SNL persona. Still, as Nyles, he could take lessons from Cristin Milioti, who absolutely steals the film as Sarah. I look forward to her next performance. As the crazed stalker also stuck in the loop, J.K. Simmons (Roy) is always fun.
Is “marriage a bottomless pit of sorrow” as Roy proclaims? Is that why Nyles, Sarah, and Roy are repeatedly forced to endure the wedding ceremony? Will they be able to turn the tables into “I’d rather die with you than live in this world without you?” Sounds overly familiar, doesn’t it? Notwithstanding, Hulu paid up to $22 million for Palm Springs.
The Tribune News Service gives a thumbs-up writing “Palm Springs belongs to Milioti, in a breakout performance… this feels like the first leading film role for Milioti that allows her to show new shades of her range. She’s darker, funnier, wackier than she’s been before, but still grounded.” Newsday is less kind with “a derivative and desperate-to-be-‘dark’ comedy.”
The loneliness aspect of this type immortality was just seen in The Old Guard. From action to dramedy, “you have to confront it, you can’t keep running away.”