A funny, fresh take on the time loop genre, produces what may be one of the best releases of the year. Originally debuting at the Sundance film festival at the beginning of 2020 and releasing on Hulu in the US last summer, Palm Springs is a film whose story we can all relate to though I very much doubt we could claim to have as much fun as Niles and Sarah do. Directed by Max Barbakow, with a brilliant screenplay penned by Andy Siatra, Palm Springs adds to the time-loop genre cemented by Groundhog Day and expanded on with Edge of Tomorrow, with its fun and intelligent dialogue, as well its excellent leading performances among other things.
Andy Samberg plays Niles, seemingly never seen without his Hawaiian shirt and a can of beer in hand. Niles is a man who has been through the same day so many times that rightfully so, he no longer cares. Before watching the film, I was not a fan of Samberg. Having only seen him in Brooklyn Nine-Nine and not being hooked by the hit sitcom or it’s leading man. However, Samberg undeniably puts in an excellent performance, trumping my previously misjudged opinion. It is a performance so definitive to Samberg that you could not imagine anyone else playing Niles. Alongside Samberg is the excellent Cristin Milioti as Sarah. Milioti who was good in The Wolf of Wall Street and Fargo, proves to be the perfect match for Samberg’s Niles. Likewise, I couldn’t picture anyone else playing Sarah so well.
Both Samberg and the film were nominated at the Golden Globe awards losing out to Sacha Baron Cohen and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm respectively. A bigger loss is the fact that Milioti wasn’t even nominated, though you can’t blame the Globes, they don’t know any better. Afterall, they did nominate Emily in Paris and Ratched but Michaela Cole missed the cut.
It would not sit right if credit wasn’t given to the brilliant J K Simmons. Simmons is an actor who brings quality to every project he’s attached to, whether that be Spider-Man, Burn After Reading or Whiplash, though the less said about The Snowman, the better. Simmons plays Roy in the film. A character who may feel familiar, though when he finds himself living the same day repeatedly, the fun stops and so does the familiarity. All in all, Palm Springs is a welcome distraction from the current pandemic, that takes the time loop genre and transcends it, with excellent leading performances and an intelligent script. As a result, it not only leaves you wanting more after 90 minutes but also may have positioned itself to be one of the best releases come the end of the year.