Weddings are waiting for comic satire, and Palm Springs is no exception.
“We kind of have no choice but to live. So, I think your best bet is just to learn how to suffer existence.” Nyles (Andy Sandberg)
Suffering is what our romantic leads do in Palm Beach. The two, Nyles and Sarah (Cristin Milioti), are caught in a Groundhog-Day time loop, whose relentless repetition could destroy the strongest romance. This time motif was recently featured in Tom Cruz’s Edge of Tomorrow and Netflix’s TV series, Russian Doll, which had separate loops.
In Judd-Apatow style, slacker Nyles is time-looped with Sarah, the sister of the bride, at a normal wedding, where he falls for Sarah, while quietly jettisoning his compulsive, nagging love, Misty (Meredith Hagner). The changing time zones is stock stuff for this genre with people knowing or not knowing each other and, most importantly, getting a chance to relive and recalibrate their previous mistakes. The important dramatic payoff is for major players finally to get it right.
Though no actor in Palm Springs duplicates the comic ingenuity of a Melissa McCarthy or Stere Carrel in an Apatow piece, the ensemble successfully transmits the feeling that looking for love is not just the province of a romantic wedding but rather is a lifelong human pursuit. And when shown with humor, a possible Oscar nominee:
“. . . It's crazy odds that the person I like the most in my entire life would be someone I met while I was stuck in a time loop but you know what else is crazy odds getting stuck in a time loop... I hope that blowing ourselves up works but it's really irrelevant to me as long as I'm with you and if it kills us well then I'd rather die with you than live in this world without you!” Nyles to Sarah
Director: Max Barbakow (The Duke)
Screenplay: Andy Siara (Grill Dog)
Cast: Andy Samberg, Cristin Miloti
Run Time: 1h 30m
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com