Saturday, December 19, 2020

Palm Springs: Movie Review

Inventive, clever and funny.

Palm Springs is clever and funny, and it’s a romantic comedy. The concept may be lifted from Groundhog Day but that doesn’t stop the filmmakers from applying it in a unique and inventive way, adding layers to a mainstream comedy. I love how the plot is explored, love the comedy, and how cohesively meshed the two are within the rom-com structure.   2020

Directed by: Max Barbakow

Screenplay by: Andy Siara

Starring: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Meredith Hagner and J.K. Simmons

It opens with Nyles (Andy Samberg) and Misty (Meredith Hagner), a young couple getting ready for a wedding. Misty’s stressed, she knows the bride and her family well, Nyles is just her date and she doesn’t want Nyles doing anything to embarrass her. Nyles seems very unperturbed by her fussing around, barely-disguised insults, and is just going through the motions of their relationship. There are many good reasons for that, all of which get slowly revealed throughout the movie.

At the wedding, Nyles is dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, and is under-dressed compared to all the other guests. This would be the embarrassing her which Misty didn’t want him to do. He then makes a grand speech for the wedding couple and saves the sister of the bride who is unprepared for her maid of honour duties and does not want to be there. Sarah (Cristin Milioti) is the older sister is despised by her family for being a screw-up and Nyles takes to her.

There is humour to be found throughout the movie. Notably in Nyles and Misty’s relationship but most importantly in how the Groundhog Day-esque / infinite time loop plot is used. Even though it’s widely known what the general plot is, it’s reveal is just so clever that I don’t want to spoil anything and won’t say anything more about it.

A key difference between Palm Springs and Groundhog Day is that Groundhog Day was about the infinite time loop and the romantic relationship was a sub-plot. Palm Springs is about Nyles as a person and his burgeoning relationship with Sarah; the infinite time loop is just a vehicle to tell that story and put a refreshing spin on the modern rom-com.

I love a lot about Palm Springs. It’s fresh and funny and there’s a smart edge to the plot to really bring up the entertainment factor. The music and the Palm Springs setting both really fit the atmosphere of the movie well. Samberg and Milioti’s chemistry isn’t as strong as other rom-com couples; however, that minor weakness is nicely covered up by the use of the infinite time loop. As I said, it’s intertwined with the relationship story so well that the result is just a very entertaining comedy.