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Palm Springs

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What it’s about:

Two guests at a destination wedding in Palm Springs find themselves stuck in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over. But at least they’re in it together.

Names you might know:

The film stars Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, with J.K. Simmons in a supporting role. Written by Andy Siara and directed by Max Barbakow.

Why it’s worth your time:

We all need Palm Springs right now because — as a good friend recently said — “it has a special kind of draw in these times when one indistinguishable day seems to flow into the next.”

The setup is one of those infinite time loop situations. Are you not familiar with time loops?  Groundhog Day and Russian Doll immediately come to mind.  Palm Springs is a winning addition to that already heralded class.  It’s a hilarious and rich romantic comedy that stickhandles the metaphysical with equal parts skill and joy.

Silly, twisted, clever, violent, bold, sweet, and hip, Palm Springs made me laugh, think and feel (in that order); and if you don’t do at least two of those three things while watching, then I am confused by your existence.

Andy Samberg dancing in Palm Springs

During the pandemic I hope we are all finding treasures to stream, but when do you actually get to see a new movie?  Let alone a good one?  Palm Springs is the answer.

The takeaway:

Technically it is a rom-com, and while it’s not the first time-loop story we’ve seen, the formula somehow feels refreshing and constructed from the ground up. The romance component holds the narrative together, but the filmmakers are also playing with themes of regret, hopelessness and pain that ground the experience amidst the romp.

Watch it with:

Pretty much anyone. Friends who like comedy or more serious fare can find something to enjoy. While it might get compared to Russian Doll, that series is more suited for the dark and brooding types. Palm Springs feels brighter and bouncier and more accessible—despite some of its occasionally sullen themes.

Worth noting:

It is rated R, so maybe cover the kiddos’ eyes and ears for some scenes. Also, at $17.5+ million, Palm Springs was the most expensive film ever purchased at the Sundance Film Festival. Lastly, remember to wait for the end-credits scene.

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