'Palm Springs' Romantic Comedy Is A Total Winner For The Lockdown Era
Are film critic Justin. Chang says it could be an especially good time to watch palm springs, a romantic comedy about two people forced to repeat the same day. Over and over again it stars Andy Sandberg, and Kristen, Milly Odi it streaming on Hulu and playing in some drive in theaters around the country. Palm Springs a hot ticket at this year's Sundance Film Festival one of the last public events to take place before the movie industry shutdown. I didn't see it there, but having caught up with it months later at home I can't help but feel as though this breezily entertaining movie. Please a little differently in the era of covid nineteen. It's a comedy. About is the LATIAN repetition which might not sound too appealing at a time when many of us are also leading lives of isolation and repetition. But don't let that dissuade you. This first feature directed by Max barbeque cow, and written by Andy Sierra turns out to be a total winner, Sharp, funny, and even profound in a sneakily offhand way. The story is a riff on that Herald Ramos Classic Groundhog Day in which Bill Murray had to keep replaying the same day until he learned to become a selfless person, but palm springs is trying to push that message. It knows that just getting through life with your dignity intact can be hard enough. That's certainly true for Sarah played by Kristen me not who's serving as maid of honor in her sister's wedding in the California desert town of Palm Springs. S Sarah Drinks too much and stumbles her way through the reception. She finds herself intrigued by one of the Guests Niles played by Andy, Sandberg. Niles is kind of a goofball, but also manages to work the room with disarming ease. It's almost as if he's been through this event before and knows everything that's going to happen. Sarah finds out why when she follows him that night into a mysterious cave out in the desert. Within seconds she's waking up the next morning only to find that. It's actually the same morning as before the morning of the wedding. Time has reset itself. In a panic Sarah Trucks Down Niles at the hotel where they're staying. He explains that when she entered the cave, she made a big mistake because he followed me. What's going on? I tried to stop. But, what is this? When is this? Yeah. About that so. This is today. Today is yesterday and tomorrow is also today. It's one of. Infinite time loop situations you might have heard about. That I might have heard about. There's been a lot of those infinite time loop situations in recent movies and TV. Some of them excellent like the Tom. Cruise Action Thriller Edge of tomorrow in the NETFLIX's mystery series. Russian doll. The pop savvy makers of Palm Springs clearly no those stories and suspect that you might know them to. As a result, they're able to jettison a lot of the usual exposition about how this world works and simply cut to the chase. Sarah is eager to bust out of the time loop but Niles. WHO's been stuck here for ages tries to dissuade her. Virtuous acts won't work. Suicide won't work although that doesn't Stop Sarah driving straight into the path of an oncoming truck just to see what happens. Eventually Niles persuades her to stop fighting the space time continuum, and just enjoy their time together, and so she does with the threat of permanent removed. These two misfits are suddenly free to embrace the craziness of every moment. Sometimes, they blow off the wedding to go on long desert drives and hang out in bars. Sometimes they stick around for the wedding, so they can play tricks on the guests. WHO WON'T REMEMBER ANYTHING ANYWAY? The guests are played by fine actors. Including Peter Gallagher June squibb and Meredith Hagner. J. K. Simmons also gives a terrific wildcard performance as a guy who POPs up at the wedding on Sundays, but not others for reasons that the story will soon make amusingly clear. As fiendishly clever, as it is on the surface, palm springs has a pretty straightforward takeaway, since life can sometimes be pointless and tedious whether you're stuck in a time loop or not, you might as well spend it with someone you love. It's pretty good advice. Even Still Sarah doesn't know how much longer she can stand being trapped in this desert purgatory, especially since Niles seem so lazily resigned as fate. I won't give away whether they succeed in escaping or not I will say that the movie doesn't entirely avoid a tired gender dynamic in which a smart determined woman has to expend a lot of emotional and mental energy, and just to get her boyfriend to WanNa move forward. But I love the way the actors conspired subvert that Dynamic Sandberg isn't that's Hilarious as he was in the Music Biz? Satire pop star never stopped never stopping, but he does have the whole. Doofus slacker routine down Pat. But, he's eclipsed by Milly Ot, a versatile performer who won a grammy for the Broadway musical once, and who can turn from madcap comedy to breathtaking emotion on a dime. I'd watch her. Any Day. Justin Chang is a film critic at the L. A. Times.