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film review

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti star in Palm Springs, now streaming in Canada.Amazon Prime Video

  • Palm Springs
  • Directed by Max Barbakow
  • Written by Andy Siara
  • Starring Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti and J.K. Simmons
  • Classification R; 90 minutes

Rating:

3 out of 4 stars

What if you were stuck living the same day over and over, with no end in sight? I guess many of us don’t have to resort to such fantastical thinking at the moment. Which makes the prospect of watching Palm Springs, in which Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti struggle to endure such a conundrum not exactly an enticing 2020 prospect. But hear me out: this movie, unlike this day or the next, is different.

At the beginning of director Max Barbakow’s feature-length debut, finally available in Canada months after debuting on Hulu stateside, Nyles (Samberg) is enjoying a life of leisure: swimming and drinking and drugging and generally making a fool of himself while attending a destination wedding. Nyles is so carefree that you might think he’s living like he doesn’t give a dang, which is true, because at the end of each night, he’s chucked back to the beginning. And soon enough, depressed sister-of-the-bride Sarah (Milioti) is sucked into the shenanigans, too.

For Palm Springs’ long-awaited Canadian release, Andy Samberg does the time loop again, and again

So far, so familiar; the time-loop conceit may have originated with Harold Ramis’s 1993 existential comedy Groundhog Day, but it’s been riffed on enough times since (Edge of Tomorrow, Source Code, Happy Death Day, Love Wedding Repeat) to seem like the cursed product of its own meta-joke. And while Barbakow and writer Andy Siara don’t exactly reinvent the ever-spinning wheel here, they do add enough of a winsome, layered charm that Palm Springs feels like a vacation you actually might want to extend forevermore.

A large part of the film’s appeal, though, is courtesy of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Samberg and How I Met Your Mother’s Milioti, two small-screen comedy stars who level up with big-screen-sized chemistry. As Nyles and Sarah adjust to a life where consequences no longer exist, the two performers make you believe that, actually, everything the two characters do matters. Oh, and they’ll actually make the concept of a goat sacrifice seem like a good idea. Trust me. Or don’t. You can always change your mind tomorrow.

Palm Springs is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video starting Dec. 18

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