New Andy Samberg Comedy ‘Palm Springs’ Makes a Familiar Formula Feel Fresh

Cristin Milioti as Sarah and Andy Samberg as Nyles in Palm Springs

Hulu original Palm Springs is a refreshingly nihilistic spin on the time loop trope we’ve seen time and time again (pun intended), from Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day to Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day movies. This dark comedy, unintentionally or not, perfectly fits in with our environment today. Like the box our characters are stuck in, the pandemic has forced us inside our homes and made every day feel like the last. Palm Springs makes sure we at least get a laugh out of the whole ordeal. 

From The Lonely Island themselves, comes a film about a pair of wedding guests who are stuck living the same day over and over. “Today, tomorrow, yesterday, it’s all the same.” 

Nyles (Andy Samberg) has been doing this for a while now, but Sarah (Cristin Milioti) has only recently accidentally caught herself up in this mess. As Nyles demonstrates to Sarah his expertise on all the best spots to be November 9, Sarah learns to embrace the idea that life and her actions have become meaningless. As the two get up to an assortment of trouble, they quickly learn being trapped in a time loop isn’t so bad when you’re not alone…I’m sure the warm weather of California doesn’t hurt either. 

Since his departure from the SNL limelight, Andy Samberg has maintained relevancy through his roles in the hit TV series Brooklyn Nine-Nine and a parody film a la This is Spinal TapPopstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (which has quietly claimed cult-hit status). In Palm Springs, we see a more restrained Samberg who gives us a lot more deadpan humor. I felt this really worked for the actor. Nyles is a character who has given up; any energy he had for the world evaporated a long time ago. In turn, Samberg’s carefree attitude in the film gels with Nyles. He’ll be sitting at a bar, drink in hand, and muttering existential nonsense to the bartender. 

“What are you pouring this kid, Ted?”

“That’s his first drink.”

Samberg does get to let loose in a pair of synchronized dance sequences, and a riotous wedding speech, however. 

Pairing with Samberg is Cristin Milioti (the girl with the yellow umbrella from How I Met Your Mother. Yes, the mother who they spent eight seasons building up to and killed off shortly thereafter. Sorry, not sorry, spoilers.). Milioti and her character, Sarah, are parallel in nature with Samberg and Nyles. She too is given more of a deadpan slant, with chances to breakout and be over-the-top. In turn, the two stars of the film have strong chemistry and make the film a lot of fun to watch. This is one of the funnier movies I’ve seen as of late. Palm Springs is a successful buddy comedy for the first half, until Nyles and Sarah have sex. Then it’s a romantic comedy (trust me, not a spoiler, it is made very clear it was inevitable as sex tends to be…in movies). 

JK Simmons makes for a bonus psychopath in the film, Roy. Roy was the first wedding guest Nyles mistakenly trapped in the time loop, and he wasn’t happy about it. Roy likes to sadistically torture Nyles on occasion and makes his introduction by shooting Nyles with an arrow while sporting war paint on his face. “Keep running, s*** bird. I’ll always find you.”

Palm Springs is a good time. It was able to keep me up at 2am on a Thursday. Millennials will relate to the film. Maybe even cry a little. If I learned anything from the movie, it’s don’t let your life feel like a time loop. Go do something new today. How about that?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Palm Springs is streaming now on Hulu

Author: Teddy Frederick

I'm a coffee addict, so I work at Starbucks. I'm receiving an education at Anne Arundel Community College. I sometimes dabble in campfire guitar songs. But above all else, movies are my life. Watching them, learning about them, reviewing them, there's nothing I'd rather be doing.

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