• Kieran Burt

Palm Springs (2021) Review

Andy Samberg stars in this delightful comedy with Cristin Milioti as two wedding guests who are stuck in a time loop together. During which, they develop a compelling romance with each other, as they both try to escape the same day that they are relieving.

This film is a great comedy film that has strong jokes throughout - yet doesn't skip out on character development. Nyles, Andy Samberg’s character, starts out as a nihilist; reliving the same day has made him feel numb to the cares of the everyday world. Nothing matters to him because the day simply resets.

Once Cristin Milioti’s character, Sarah, gets drawn into the time loop and Nyles spends a significant amount with her, though, he develops a clear bond for her and realises that the world he lives in is not meaningless if there is someone to spend it with.

The two develop a convincing bond with each other, reluctantly settling into their new life until Sarah figures out how to escape. This bond is furthered by compelling conflict, as Nyles lies to Sarah about their past because he doesn’t think she will take it well, and then realises that without her life in the time loop simply isn’t fun anymore.

It is clear why this film was the highest selling film at Sundance 2020

The comedic beats of this film draw genuine laughter from me, and the rules of the time loop are very simple. This makes it so the audience doesn’t have a headache trying to figure out the rules of the film, as time travel movies often draw confusion on their mechanics. The comedy is also what sets the film apart from others that use a similar mechanic.

There is also a slight antagonist with the film, J K Simmons’ Roy, however he is realtively under-utilised as he only has a small amount of screen time within the film. Had he appeared in one or two more sequences, his eventual epiphany would have felt more impactful to the audience. His character seems left behind at times, although thankfully the film remembers him during the mid-credits scene - else he would have been needlessly punished.

Overall this film is well made by the director Max Barbakow, and is well worth watching. It is clear why this was the highest selling film at Sundance 2020, and why it garnered the attention it did.