Palm Springs

·2-min read

Palm Springs hit headlines back in January 2020 when it broke the Sundance Film Festival sales record following its debut and the hype surrounding it has been non-stop ever since.

And now, U.K. audiences can see what all the fuss is about!

The film is set on November 9th in Palm Springs, California at the wedding of Tala (Camila Mendes) and Abe (Tyler Hoechlin). Sarah (Cristin Milioti), the bride's wayward half-sister, forms a bond with Nyles (Andy Samberg) after he makes an impromptu speech to rescue her while she is in a drunken state.

As they're about to hook up, Nyles is shot by an arrow fired by Roy (J.K. Simmons) and crawls into a cave wounded.

He begs Sarah not to follow but curiosity gets the better of her and she is sucked into the vortex and wakes up on the morning of 9th November once again, something Nyles has been doing for a very long time.

The concept of Palm Springs is fantastic. It's refreshingly original and provides rich opportunities for comedy.

Time loop films have been done plenty of times before, with movies like Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow, but the beats in Max Barbakow's feature directorial debut are totally unique, plus the whole vibe feels very different - it's fun, irreverent, and extremely silly - as well as a mix of science fiction and romantic comedy.

Usually films with cool concepts fail to stick the landing or run out of gas halfway through, but thankfully this isn't the case with Palm Springs. The film is wisely only 90 minutes long and it maintains the zippy momentum it kicks off with - so it never outstays its welcome.

Samberg is known for his comedy skills, and he easily commands those scenes, but he impresses with his more emotional work towards the end when he becomes desperate and lovelorn about Sarah wanting to leave their time loop bubble.

However, Milioti is the revelation here. She's extremely funny but also tackles the darker side of Sarah, who makes bad choices and despises herself for them. Their chemistry was excellent and watching them play off each other - particularly in the early scenes when they're simply enjoying the time loop together - was very uplifting.

Simmons is as reliable as ever as Roy, who seems menacing until you get to know him better.

Incredibly, Palm Springs is Barbakow's debut - he has nailed a film that is really tricky to get right.

His judgements are completely spot-on, and he's created a delightful feature that is fun, feel-good, and entertaining.

On Amazon Prime Video from Friday 9th April.