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Sunday, January 17, 2021

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Film Fridays: Palm Springs

<p><em>Graphic by Carissa Gurgul</em></p>

Graphic by Carissa Gurgul

Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers. The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian.

“Palm Springs” was one of my most anticipated movies of 2020 after selling for $17,500,000.69 directly out of the Sundance Film Festival-- shattering all records. Prior to watching the film, I avoided all trailers and promotional material in fear that I would get something spoiled, because I was already hooked on the actors and premise alone. 

The movie follows Nyles, played by Andy Samberg, and Sarah, played by Cristin Milioti. They meet each other at a Palm Springs wedding and shenanigans ensue when the two find themselves stuck in a time loop. 

That is all I will say about the film's plot as it is better to go in blind.

Andy Samberg has always been an inspiration for me. I will forever cherish his seven-year stint on “Saturday Night Live,” which I view as my generation's "golden age" of SNL.

Not to mention, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is one of my favorite television shows, and “Hot Rod” will forever be my go-to nostalgic comfort comedy movie. What Samberg does in this movie is unlike anything I have ever seen from him. 

The film is hysterical but also has a big heart, and it was great to see the range in Samberg's emotion — something I rarely see. Milioti also knocks it out of the park, and the two leads had the best chemistry I have seen in a film all year. 

The rest of the cast crushes it, and it is always a pleasure to see J.K. Simmons reunite with Samberg after having hilarious chemistry in “I Love You, Man” and an episode of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” I credit writer Andy Siara for creating such a unique script in what seems to be a redundant genre. 

Between “Groundhog Day,” “Source Code,” “Edge of Tomorrow,” “Happy Death Day” and many other films, you would think the time loop genre has reached its breaking point. However, Siara was able to create a fresh take on the genre. 

The film combines science fiction, comedy, drama and romance beautifully. 

The film makes for a great date movie, where the romantic elements hit a lot harder than I expected. The commentary on how spending all of your time with someone can change you as a person worked magically for me.

Plus, the movie is a tight 90 minutes long, and with the excellent pacing, it flies by.

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My one small gripe with the movie is that the third act's tone is a bit different from the rest of the movie. The film starts to ramp up on the romance and drama rather than the comedy, so if you are expecting a “Wedding Crashers” or “The Hangover” type of film, this is not it. 

“Palm Springs” has a big heart and is not afraid to tug on the emotions. That is not to say the film did not deliver several laugh out loud moments and hilarious gags, but the comedy isn't the primary focus at the end of the day. 

After two more watches, I came to appreciate the direction the film went in. I just did not see the tone switch coming from a movie produced by The Lonely Island.

I can't wait to see what first-time director Max Barbakow does next, and I hope a studio gives him a heftier budget (“Palm Springs” was made for $5 million) so he can spread his wings as a director. 

“Palm Springs” is streaming on Hulu, and it is the best film I have seen all year.

Contact contributor Miles Goldman at miles.goldman@richmond.edu.

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