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Palm Springs: A New And Improved Spin On The Time Loop Genre

The comedy and weaving storylines between characters, alongside the star power of Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, cement Palm Springs as a future cult classic in the Time Loop genre. The ninety-minute movie doesn’t take a wrong step, always building up to the film’s intriguing climax and conclusion.

Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island crew have been around Film and Television for nearly two decades, yet their movies never hit the big screen like they want them to. Their films Hot Rod and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping suffered below-average reviews and box office turnouts.

Well, that has all changed with Hulu’s hit movie Palm Springs starring Andy Samberg (Nyles) and Cristin Milioti (Sarah). The movie boasts a 94 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and recently won The Critics Choice Award for Best Comedy. And it’s fair to say the movie deserves that high rating. It is great! The film takes on the played out Time Loop genre and spins it in its own creative, original way. Instead of a good deed like in Groundhogs Day, endless studying of quantum physics is actually the answer to escape the loop.

The movie’s two characters are, in their own ways, at the lowest points of their lives. Nyles attends a wedding with his current girlfriend, who cheats on him at that same wedding. To make it even worse, Nyles will wake up next to her for as long as he is in the loop. On the other hand, Sarah is an alcoholic whose career is going nowhere and is sisters to the bride. Nyles might get to wake up to his cheating girlfriend each morning, but Sarah gets to wake up to the groom-to-be. Not exactly how you want to start your sister’s wedding day.

The movie continues its unique spin on the Time Loop story with the character of Nyles. Nyles has already been in the Time Loop for what seems to be years before we are introduced to him through Sarah. As the audience, we are experiencing the world at the same pace as Sarah, with Nyles acting as a guide. It’s a quick and easy way to throw out all of the overdone tropes on how to escape the Loop situation. In previous iterations of Time Loop films, we are experiencing the new world with our characters. But a veteran of sorts in Nyles allows for the story to worry less about figuring out that the characters are in a repetitive day and more about trying to escape it. 

What adds to this spectacular movie is the connection between Nyles and Sarah. It is not just your basic love story. Nyles has become comfortable in the Time Loop and feels safe. It is touched on briefly, but Nyles’ life outside of this loop wasn’t very exciting. Sarah is the first new thing he has seen and felt in a very long time, and he must decide between repetitive comfortability. Or something new that can be the best thing that has happened to him. It’s a choice that visibly tears Nyles apart, and it really comes through thanks to Andy’s superb acting. The character seems to give Andy room to experiment with emotions or feelings that he hasn’t been able to work with before, and to me, this film really cements him as one of the stars of Hollywood.

While this is a stellar performance for Andy, Cristin, to me, is the standout star of this film. It really shows she can hold her own as the main star on the big screen and kill it. Before this film, I had not seen Cristin in anything besides How I Met Your Mother and briefly in Wolf Of Wall Street. After finishing this movie, the question is, why isn’t Hollywood casting Cristin more for the big screen? The film really relies on her acting prowess to get across the hardship that comes with waking up again and again after the worst night of her life, and she delivers it with flying colours. It is a big ask for your lead actress to portray a drunken mess having a mid-life crisis and have her evolve into someone studying quantum physics to escape the Time Loop because she finally wants more from life thanks to her connection with Nyles.

Achieving all of this within a ninety-minute run time is an incredible feat!

Overall the movie does a perfect job of balancing comedy and storytelling, so no joke or phrase feels like it doesn’t belong. Director Max Barbakow and Cinematographer Quyen Tran did an excellent job composing the movie with stunning Palm Springs Desert shots. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie and suggest everyone should watch it, as it is a unique and original storyline that needs to be credited.

Palm Springs is currently streaming on PrimeVideo.

Written by Lachlan Bryce

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