Propelled by explosive energy and a driving pace this movie takes a little bit of every time loop movie that has come before to create a vibrant romantic comedy.
Released on Hulu over the summer this movie follows Nyles and Sarah two wedding guests who get stuck in an infinite time loop and relive the wedding day over and over.
Sarah, played by Cristin Milioti, wakes up on her sisters wedding day with a messy past and a lot of regrets. She meets Nyles played by Andy Samberg, a guest at the wedding who seems a little off.
When Sarah’s maid of honor speech goes horribly wrong Nyles swoops in the save her. They head into the desert for a little canoodling when Nyles is inexplicably attacked. He is injured in crawls into a glowing cave. Sarah follows him and finds herself trapped reliving the same day on repeat. She and Nyles band together to survive their current situation.
There’s a concept in screenwriting about paying off the promise of your premise. It’s also called fun and games. It usually happens in the second act, and Palm Springs has one of the best payoffs I’ve seen. It’s second act is so much fun. These two explore everything you can do in a time loop. They party. They explore. They play pranks. They get arrested. They learn a dance routine and perform in a bar. It’s a ton of fun.
What Sets this one apart for me is the way it explores what comes after all the fun and games. These two begin to feel the hopelessness of their situation and start to really grapple with the consequences of their actions. The time loop becomes a metaphor for moving on from your past mistakes and breaking free from cycles of self destructive behavior.
Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg are spectacular. Samberg tones done his doofier impulses and commits to a worn down guy stuck in this one day. Milioti gives a stellar performance as a woman who is lost and realizes she has to break herself free from her mistakes. She’s fierce and determined and just bursting with energy. I love these two.
There are moments that don’t work and scenes that fall flat. I hate big embarrassing speeches in front of crowds. It gets off to a bit of a rocky start for me. I had to warm up to it a little, but once I got into it, I was all in.
It is a hard R movie. There is sex, violence, and some gross out humor. If you’re looking for a sweet good natured time loop movie The Map of Tiny Perfect Things might be more your speed. If you want a more hardcore time loop experience check our Palm Springs. (Streaming on Hulu)
It’s definitely my cup of tea. A-