Genre: Romantic Comedy
Running Time: 89 mins.
Where Can You See It?: Hulu
Premise: Nyles (Andy Samberg) and Sarah (Cristin Milloti) meet at a Palm Springs wedding, and find themselves unable to escape the venue, themselves, or each other. Things get progressively complicated from there.
Behind-the-Scenes: Made a splash at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it sold for 17,500,000.69, making it a Sundance sales record and beating the previous record holder (Birth of a Nation) by .69 cents.Ha, nice. The Lonely Island (Jorma Taccone, Akiva Shaffer, and Samberg) are producers and include a truly funny “Lonely Island Classics” logo before the film. This is director Max Barbakow and writer Andy Siara’s first feature.
The Good: This may just be the movie of 2020. It so perfectly captures the essence of the quarantine experience and what it’s like to keep living the same day over and over. Samberg is always funny, but displays some impressive dramatic chops here as well, building nicely on some of the range he showed in Celeste and Jesse Forever (which is definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it yet). He has a ton of chemistry with Milloti, who is equally fun, in a more acerbic way. The script is smart and playful, and mines a ton of fresh insight on relationships and commitment from its Groundhog Day-inspired premise. J.K. Simmons adds some additional thematic heft in a small supporting role. The film is deeply rewatchable (I’ve seen it twice now) and rewards those repeat viewings – hidden meanings and subtle jokes become clearer. The 90-minute runtime flies by, and despite the time loop conceit, the movie never repeats itself. The location, costumes and production design all work hand-in-hand to create a richly textured world on screen.
The Bad: For true Lonely Island fans, it’s not as funny as you might expect given their involvement. The sci-fi elements are thrown in without much thought and are barely fleshed out. Either go full sci-fi with the premise or don’t explain it at all.
Should You See It?: Yes! Palm Springs is a bubbly tonic of a film that both elevates the romcom genre and honors it. Worth a subscription to Hulu for this alone.
Star Rating: **** out of 5 stars
Better Than: Happy Death Day, Source Code
Worse Than: Groundhog Day, Edge of Tomorrow
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