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Palm Springs - Movie Review

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Palm Springs

Hulu and Neon had no way of anticipating the future relevance of the film the pair snatched up at Sundance back in January. Considered quite a risk to shell out $22 million plus for a time-loop romantic comedy anticipated to be a long shot theatrical bet at best and a risky streaming hit at worst, Disney-owned Hulu took the gamble with hopes of bolstering its strategy of becoming a go-to destination for festival hits and hidden gems.

"It’s funny, full of surprises, and reminds us that love is what makes life worth living"


Well, here we are nearly seven months later in total awe of the move as the romantic comedy Palm Springs, which stars SNL alum Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti (TV’s How I Met Your Mother), is a supremely relatable reflection of an audience stuck in a never-ending quarantine time warp of its own. Palm Springs presents both a refreshingly clever spin on romantic comedies and adds something new to the well-worn time loop sub-genre as well. Reminding us of something like the love-child of Groundhog Day and The Wedding Singer, this $22 million gamble has paid off in a big way. And the winner is you.

One of the first things we notice about Palm Springs is that it opens with its main character already stuck in an infinite time loop. We meet Nyles (Samberg), who wakes up in bed with his girlfriend Misty (Meredith Hagner, The Oath) at a Palm Springs hotel villa. It’s the morning of Misty’s BFF Tala’s (Camila Mendes, TV’s Riverdale) wedding and Nyles is less than enthused about any of it. That’s because he’s living the same day over and over again.

It seems that Nyles somehow got himself stuck in a time loop, but rather than sticking to the tried-and-true formula of most time loop plots, this one has Nyles showing no concern for getting out of it. He’s just content with drinking beer, insulting everyone around him, and reliving the same day over and over. That is until the bride’s maid-of-honor Sarah (Milioti), accidentally gets herself stuck in the time loop with Nyles. The pair begin an hilarious journey as they relive the same 24 hours on repeat. And no matter what they do, the outcome of the day will always be the same: they wake up back on the morning of the wedding as if it’s a new day.Palm Springs

One of the film’s greatest strengths is the way first-time director Max Barbakow – working from Andy Siara’s original script – quickly introduces us to the time loop universe, its rules, and how it all works. Kill yourself to end the loop? No, you just wake back up in the same place. Besides, you won’t die, but you will feel the pain. Kill someone else? Nope. That doesn’t work either. Change your attitude and strive to be a better, more caring person? Sarah’s plan for that strategy changes nothing. As things play out, we learn that there’s at least one other person stuck in the loop with them, and he’s hell bent on exacting revenge on Nyles.

Light, airy and loaded with charm, Palm Springs leans heavily on the chemistry of its two leads and, as a result, is not only one of the year’s funniest films (although The King of Staten Island may have something to say about that), but also one of the best romantic comedies since 2018’s Crazy, Rich Asians. Samberg’s goofy charisma and lackadaisical attitude play nicely against Milioti’s doe-eyed irreverence. Their roles here arguably represent the high water mark for both and should get attention come awards season.

Also starring J.K. Simmons, Peter Gallagher, Tyler Hoechlin, and Chris Pang, Palm Springs is a fun time-out from our current quarantine blues. It’s funny, full of surprises, and reminds us that love is what makes life worth living. Neon and Hulu took a $22 million flyer on Palm Springs, but you’ll need to only commit to a breezy 90 minutes. It’s well worth your time to check it out. What else do you have to do tomorrow other than wake up and do this quarantine thing all over again?

4/5 stars

Palm Springs

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor:
Available on Blu-ray

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The Hustle (2019)

MPAA Rating: R for sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some violence.
Runtime:
90 mins
Director
: Mark Barbakow
Writer:
Andy Siara
Cast:
Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons
Genre
: Comedy | Romance
Tagline:
Live Like There's No Tomorrow.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I felt everything I'll ever feel. So I'll never feel ever again."
Distributor:
Neon; Hulu
Official Site: https://www.hulu.com/movie/palm-springs-f70dfd4d-dbfb-46b8-abb3-136c841bba11
Release Date:
July 10, 2020 (streaming)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: When carefree Nyles and reluctant maid of honor Sarah have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, things get complicated as they are unable to escape the venue, themselves, or each other.

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The Hustle (2019)

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