Palm Springs Image

Palm Springs

By Bobby LePire | July 14, 2020

NEW ON HULU! Palm Springs follows Nyles (Andy Samberg), the plus one for bridesmaid Misty (Meredith Hagner), at Tala (Camilla Mendes) and Abe’s (Tyler Hoechlin) wedding. While everyone else is getting ready for the impending nuptials, Nyles is soaking up the sun by the pool, cracking open can beer after can of beer. During the reception, he saves maid-of-honor Sarah (Cristin Milioti), the older sister of the bride, by making a lovely speech, after she freezes. Soon the two are making out by the beach.

But then Roy (J.K. Simmons) shows up and shoots Nyles in the shoulder with an arrow. Nyles goes running towards a cave, as Sarah follows. He tells her not to enter the cave with him, but she does so anyway. She then wakes up to find herself repeating the day of the wedding. Freaking out, she demands answers from Nyles: after a minor earthquake, which happens during the ceremony, a cave opens up. Inside is a strange red glow, that when you get close enough, pulls you in and leaves you at the beginning of that same day.

When you die, you restart on that same day. As soon as you fall asleep, you wake up on that same day. Nyles has been stuck in this time loop for much longer than he can remember and was the only one for the longest time. One night, in a drug-fueled stupor, he brings Roy, who proclaimed that he never wanted this night to end, into the fold. This pissed Roy off, so now and then, Roy shows up and tortures him.

“Nyles has been stuck in this time loop for much longer than he can remember…”

As Sarah gets used to the new routine, she and Nyles form a very close bond. Will they be forced to live the same day over and over, with only each other? Or is there a way to break the loop so that they can move on?

Andy Siara’s script for Palm Springs, his feature-length debut, is hilarious, offbeat, and delightful. Overall, the movie has a few minor flaws, but none of them are from the screenplay. The dialogue is snappy, endlessly quotable, and often hysterical. When describing the situation they are in, Nyles tells Sarah that this is “…one of those infinite time loop situations you may have heard about.” She replies, “That I may have heard about?” It is super funny. Or when they are camping and see dinosaurs roaming the desert, and they are not sure if it’s real or a hallucination. Their reaction is equally as amusing.

The plot is just as well-thought-out and delightful as the dialogue. As the two grow ever closer, they do some ridiculous things to amuse themselves. To that end, Nyles and Sarah dress up in matching outfits, go to the local biker bar, and perform a dance routine and give the finger to the barflies. It is one of the funniest moments of any film I have seen all year. Another moment of hilariousness is when Sarah dresses as a one-eyed, hook-handed Russian who put a bomb into the wedding cake and Nyles bursts onto the scene and shoots the explosive device into the sky. It’s so far out there, it’s amazing.

Siara also manages to make the drama ring true. A lot of the gravitas is tied to spoilers, so I will try not to give too much away. But the relationship between Sarah and Tala is authentic, and Roy’s storyline gets very weighty, without betraying the laugh-a-minute style of the bulk of Palm Springs.

Palm Springs (2020)

Directed: Max Barbakow

Written: Andy Siara

Starring: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, JK Simmons, Peter Gallagher, etc.

Movie score: 9.5/10

Palm Springs Image

"…snappy, endlessly quotable, and often hysterical."

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