What happens when the vacation never ends? Palm Springs answers that exactly as two wedding guests get stuck in an endless time loop reliving the same day over and over again. Without an end in sight, the two begin a relationship. Starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, along with J.K. Simmons as a great bad guy.
This is not Groundhog’s Day
The classic film, Groundhog’s Day, excelled at the time loop story, but Palm Springs focuses less on self-improvement and more on choices and consequences. A key additional change is that Samberg’s Nyles is already in the time loop before the movie begins. He no longer has a concept of how many times he has relived the same day. One night he brings maid of honor, Sarah (Milioti), out for a desert rendezvous when a hunter, Roy (Simmons), attacks Nyles, so she follows them both into a glowing cave and she too begins the time loop.
Because Nyles has repeated the same day an infinite number of times he works as a spirit guide to Sarah to help her understand that she can do whatever she wants forever. No consequences, nothing ever changes, and any mistakes get erased. Yet, their own memories are not. The attempt from Groundhog’s Day to offer the simple magical explanation that all can be fixed with good deeds is vetoed quickly in this story, but the characters do significantly change from this experience.
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Evolution of Character
The charm of Palm Springs comes from the relationship between Nyles and Sarah, but the depth of the story comes from how they work to become better individuals. The comedy is a great dressing to make this fantastical situation feel more real. The characters acknowledge how fun and bizarre this all is without losing their struggle to get out of it. A simplified explanation of the time loop doesn’t get you stuck in trying to find the logic.
Palm Springs is a good time and makes you wonder what you would do in this situation. An endless vacation from your life may sound great, but at some point, it has to end so you can face reality.
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