Palm Springs (2020)
Dir: Max Barbakow
Where on earth is Palm Springs?
You’ll hear it referenced in many films and shows, as it’s a popular holiday and wedding destination apparently, a resort city in California. Seems to be a good option for couples who want their wedding to feel like it’s somewhere exotic without needing passports.
What happens there that’s of interest?
Reluctant wedding guest Nyles (Andy Samberg, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and ‘Hot Rod’) is stuck in a ‘Groundhog Day’ time-loop. This plot device is so often used in films and TV shows so it’s not hard to anticipate some of the kinds of shenanigans that ensue, though there are many clever twists and details that make his predicament particularly watchable.
Who’s stuck in this loop with him?
This is where the film distinguishes itself from the majority of others. We’re very used to seeing the solo looper, but Nyles isn’t a lonely island on his own, here he has company, which is shown in the trailer so this isn’t really much of a spoiler, in the form of bridesmaid Sarah (Cristin Milioti, the eponymous mother of ‘How I Met Your Mother’). It’s what makes the film so much more interesting and allows for some meaningful character growth that’d be difficult if Nyles was the only looper.
How do they get out of the time-loop?
Only a noob reviewer would spoil that for you! What I will say is that’s one of the best things about this film, there are all forms of ideas tried, tested and discussed, but the conclusion of the film takes a form of resolution that’s refreshingly tangible than the ‘get it right and it’ll end’ trope.
Why has this been such a success and gained so many award nominations?
With the events of 2020, a film where characters are stuck in one place with people they’d maybe not choose to be stuck with, doing the same things over and over again until the concept of time has become blurred, oddly resonates. Adding to that premise an excellent cast including J. K Simmons and June Squibb, a multi-layered story that builds on and plays with an established (and slightly tired) device, and great laugh-out-loud comedy moments, makes it one of the most enjoyable films of last year. It’s easy to put it on the shortlists for ‘Best Comedy’, though it’ll be interesting to see if that can carry over into the Academy Awards for potentially an ‘Original Screenplay’ nomination.
‘Palm Springs’ is a thoroughly enjoyable comedy that deserves all the awards buzz it’s getting. Nominated for Best Comedy and Best Comedy Lead Actor at the Golden Globes this weekend, I’m not sure it’ll win because of the strong competition, especially as ‘Borat 2’ seems to have kept prominent on the promotional push for months, but maybe there’s a chance.