Review: Palm Springs

Palm Springs (2020)

Director: Max Barbakow

Writer: Andy Siara

Starring: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milloti, Peter Gallagher, and J.K. Simmons

Plot: A man and a woman are stuck in a time loop taking place on her sister’s wedding day.

Review: So, here’s the thing. I saw Palm Springs about a week ago. I enjoyed it. I really did. However, I didn’t love it like I know a lot of people have. And, I don’t exactly know why. So, I kind of put off typing up my review for it. Now we’re a week out and I feel like I have to type something up because it’s one of the more popular movies “playing” right now. So, here we are. I don’t know how long or how inspired this review is going to be. But, it’ll be a review. Hopefully it’ll serve its purpose by letting you know whether it’s worth a stream. Ok, let’s just jump into it. 

First things first, I can see the script for this movie being pitched as an unnecessary sequel to Groundhog Day. “What if Phil’s girlfriend were stuck in the time loop with him?” Now, I’m not trying to use that as purely an insult. This is about the best you can do with that concept. However, like I said, it feels unnecessary. I feel like everything this movie has to say was already articulated in Groundhog Day. And although there is a twist that keeps things semi-fresh, I don’t really think it was enough to justify its existence. Maybe that’s a tad too harsh. I don’t know. But, if you’re going to attempt to retread the same ground as an iconic movie, you better bring me something super fresh. Happy Death Day, for example, caught my interest by making it a slasher flick. This just feels like more of the same. 

But, that doesn’t mean it’s all bad either. I laughed quite a bit during this movie. I think some of the gags they were able to do with the time travel were really clever. The way they wasted time and messed around was very entertaining. Likewise, there were a couple of twists I didn’t see coming. But, the real draw here is the characters. Samberg plays, essentially, the Bill Murray part in the middle of Groundhog Day. He’s the one who has been stuck in the time loop the longest and knows his way around the place. He has tried to get out so many times that he’s given up. And, of course, it’s Andy Samberg so he’s hilarious. Then, there’s Cristin Milioti who was the real breakthrough for me. When I think of this movie, she’s probably the one I’ll remember most. For reasons you learn later, she’s kind of stuck in one of the worst days of her life at the type of massive family gathering a lot of people dread. Through the time loop, she has to learn to accept her failures and confront her past. It’s a super interesting dynamic. Her character is really what makes the movie work. And, the two of them have a great dynamic. They play off of each other really well and are super cute. I was actively rooting for them to end up together, which is a good sign in a romantic comedy. So, Palm Spring’s definitely isn’t a complete waste of time. There’s some really good, clever stuff here. 

So, yeah, that’s pretty much everything I have to say on Palm Springs. I really liked the characters. The acting was good, especially from Milioti.  I thought a couple of the gags were really clever. There were a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming. But, I can’t ultimately say that I loved the movie because it just feels like I didn’t get that much fresh content from it. I don’t know. Sorry this review is kind of all over the place. That’s why I took so long to type it up. I would definitely say give Palm Springs a shot. It’s not a waste of time. I just don’t think it’s all that memorable either. Am I being to harsh? Maybe. It’s likely. Definitely. I’d probably like it a lot more if I hadn’t already seen Groundhog Day a million times. 

TL;DR: Palm Springs is a fun movie with great characters, but suffers from the inevitable comparisons to Groundhog Day. 

Score: 6/10 (Ok)

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