The Oscar Project Reviews
Palm Springs arrived during our pandemic days of quarantine, many of which felt mind-numbingly the same. Seeing the carefree approach of the characters in this film was refreshing in a film that could easily have been a simple rehash of the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day.
The basic premise is similar to the 1993 film. This time we find Nyles (Andy Samberg) waking up with his girlfriend as they prepare for her sister's wedding that night. Nyles is very clearly just along for the ride as he lounges in the pool at the desert resort before showing up to the wedding in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. At the wedding, he jumps in to give a touching speech in place of the maid of honor, Sarah (Cristin Milioti) who doesn't want anything to do with the evening's events.
When the pair runs away from the reception together, they end up near a cave in the desert. Nyles enters the cave, telling Sarah not to follow him, which she does anyway, causing her to wake up back on the morning of the wedding, doomed to repeat the day over again.
What made this film work so well for me was the way it addressed living with the same person over and over in the same place and time over and over again. As I mentioned at the top, it was a perfect escape during the pandemic when this became the reality of many people stuck in their homes with their families. You woke up to the same routine of Zoom meetings, virtual school, and the same four walls around you and the days blurred together.
Fortunately for Nyles and Sarah, they know that they are stuck and there doesn't seem to be anything they can do about it, so they might as well embrace it and have some fun. And fun they do have. In what might be the best part of the film, an extended montage follows their exploits as they explore the boundaries of acceptable behavior at and around the wedding, frequently going well beyond those boundaries.
Of course there is the required love connection between the pair as they come to the realization that they can never be with anyone else. However, unlike Groundhog Day, Palm Springs keeps you guessing right up to the end when it comes to the love story.
With a tight 90-minute run time, Palm Springs wastes nothing and delivers a strong story contained within an initially familiar narrative device. Samberg is hilarious and Milioti proves his equal throughout. Do not miss this one.
8 out of 10
Palm Springs is available streaming exclusively on Hulu.