The trope of the infinite time loop is one that can be found in many TV shows and movies alike. From Groundhog Day, Happy Death Day, and Edge of Tomorrow to Supernatural, The X-Files, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the idea is one that has been inserted into pop culture mediums many times over. Despite time loops being a fairly common storyline, every usage of the technique comes out differently; you never feel like you’re watching the same movie or show twice, and Palm Springs was no different.
The movie follows characters Nyles (Andy Samberg) and Sarah (Cristin Milioti) who have a chance meeting at the Palm Springs wedding of Sarah’s sister Tala (Camila Mendes) and her fiance Abe (Tyler Hoechlin) and subsequently become stuck in an infinite time loop. As Sarah comes to terms with being stuck, she begins to embrace Nyles’ carefree nihilistic attitude as the two fall for each other while trying to make the most of the never-ending November 9 and come to terms with their new reality.
Milioti and Samberg mesh well together, with Milioti’s dry brand of humor and Samberg’s usual goofy attitude perfectly complementing one another. The movie was infused with a multitude of ridiculously laughable moments, all stemming from the pair’s wild antics to spice up life as they continue to relive the same day over and over. The adventurous spirit that both characters possess in the face of the endless monotony presented by a time loop makes for a humorous watch. In true rom-com style, we see the two slowly fall in love, learning more and more about each other as each day passes. You can see how each of the small moments and crazy experiences that they share progressively build up to something more.
Something that surprised me about the movie was the deep (yet still humorously presented) commentary on the meaning of life. In the face of his ever-present entrapment, Nyles exhibits an extremely nihilistic point of view on life (I can’t help but wonder if his name was a pun on that) for most, if not all, of the movie, firmly rooted in the idea that life is meaningless and accepting that they “kind of have no choice but to live.” This leads him to adopt a carefree approach to tackling each day, often taking the path of least resistance and disregarding public opinion in respect to his actions, because as he so eloquently puts it, “today, tomorrow, it’s all the same.” Sarah, on the other hand, shifts perspectives quite frequently, going from accepting said nihilism to holding out hope that there has to be something beyond the drudgery that’s been created for the two in their predicament. While lighthearted on the surface, the movie truly does take a crack at the motivations behind our actions and ultimately our existence, giving the movie an extra layer of meaning.
While the concept wasn’t revolutionary (like I said, the time loop trope abounds), Palm Springs is in no way boring. It’s a movie that you can simply sit down and enjoy at face value while simultaneously provoking thought about the world around you – if you choose to engage with it in that manner. Because of that, Palm Springs is definitely a movie that I wouldn’t mind sitting down and reliving.
Palm Springs is now available to stream on Hulu. Check out the trailer if you haven’t already below!