(Photo above via Hulu)
If you are one of the few people who haven’t seen “Palm Springs” yet, watch it immediately. I’m not kidding. Stop reading this article (and avoid the mild spoilers that follow) and come back after you’ve finished it. Then text me because I want to talk to people about it.
“Palm Springs” is a clever romantic comedy (if you can call it that; but more on that later) starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti. It was released on Hulu on July 10 with the streaming service’s largest opening weekend to date.
First of all, this cast is stacked. It includes the incredibly charming Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti — who is wildly underappreciated, by the way. The movie also boasts the talents of J. K. Simmons, Peter Gallagher, Camila Mendes, and Tyler Hoechlin. There’s truly someone for everyone.
Now into spoiler territory. If you haven’t seen “Palm Springs” yet, I suggest you avoid reading more. It is best enjoyed when you know as little as possible before watching. This is because this movie is so unexpected. It is a smart, genre-bending, sci-fi, supernatural, cynical, hopeful, comedic, romantic movie all in one. The best way I can describe it is if “The Good Place” and “Groundhog Day” had a baby. It has the existential humor and ethical quandaries of “The Good Place,” which I’ve been missing since that show ended, and the time loop of “Groundhog Day.”
I usually dislike the monotony and repetitiveness of time loop stories. But “Palm Springs” avoids this flaw by beginning the movie in media res. When we meet Samberg’s Nyle, he has already been living the same day for years. He has everything figured out already, and viewers aren’t subjected to the usual tedium of the protagonist waking up in the same day, being confused, and doing all the same things for a while until they adjust to their new reality. And, instead of being alone in the time loop, Nyles is joined by Milioti’s Sarah and Simmons’ Roy. This allows the characters to form meaningful relationships, as opposed to the traditional version of this story, where the sole time loop sufferer is alone and those around them can only develop a relationship for one day before the loop resets.
On top of being one of the best time loop movies, “Palm Springs” is really funny. Of course this movie was always going to be funny, it’s partially produced by Andy Samberg and his comedy trio The Lonely Island. But the humor isn’t loud or obvious, it’s subtler and more relatable. Scenes play out in familiar ways that you can imagine happening in real life. The dialogue, too, especially from Sarah, is very believable.
And if I can brag on Cristin Milioti a little more — I can and will because this is my article — she’s fantastic. Sarah is a very flawed but likeable character. Like “The Good Place’s” Eleanor, the female lead is allowed to be very human while also trying to improve herself and earning the audience’s favor. Yay, complex female characters! Hollywood, please cast Cristin Milioti in more of them!
“Palm Springs” is the perfect antidote to quarantine fatigue. If you feel like all your days are the same and blend together, watch this movie. If you like sci-fi or comedy, watch this movie. If you at all like movies, please watch this one.
Ok, now that I’m done writing this review, I’m going to go watch “Palm Springs” again, and again, and again…
Have you seen “Palm Springs?”
Yes, I loved it!
Yeah, wasn’t for me
No, but I want to