Review: Samberg time loop comedy 'Palm Springs' a desert delight
Andy Samberg lives the same day over and over in comic charmer
It's "Groundhog Day" in the Southern California desert in "Palm Springs," a charming, clever, off-beat comedy starring Andy Samberg as a wedding guest doomed to live the same day over and over.
Samberg is Nyles, who is stuck inside "one of those infinite time loop situations you may have heard about," as he so eloquently states. And while "Groundhog Day" is never mentioned by name — nor is "Happy Death Day," another experimental looped time antecedent — it's implied in the way Nyles drolly goes about his days, living out every possible scenario and not caring about the consequences because he's just going to repeat the same day tomorrow.
At the wedding Nyles is caught inside, he eyes Sarah (Cristin Milioti, "Black Mirror's" "USS Callister" episode), the sister of the bride. While hooking up in the desert, Nyles accidentally brings Sarah into his linear time vortex, where the pleasures of a consequence-free existence quickly dissipate and give way to a need to find a way back into real life.
Screenwriter Andy Siara and first-time feature filmmaker Max Barbakow lend a fresh perspective to "Palm Springs'" familiar terrain; we've seen movies like this before, but their take is uniquely dry.
Samberg plays against his cuddly instincts but there's still a glimmer in his eye, and he fits well with the acerbic Milioti. They're a charismatic anti-couple who in navigating how to suffer existence learn it's better to do it together.
With company like this — along with J.K. Simmons, who plays another time-trapped looper — living the same day again and again isn't so bad. "Palm Springs" is worth the trip.
Rated R: for sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some violence
Running time: 90 minutes