Sarah is a bridesmaid and at a wedding that cheers her up like a failed amputation, she meets the charming Nyles. But the two find themselves trapped in a time loop. So much for Palm Springs’ starting point, that it ended up failing on Amazon Prime Video, after months of hype and pandemic.
The time loop has been a victim of Pazuzu syndrome, also called The Exorcist’s regurgitation, for several years. A pathology that arises when a feature film encounters a concept so well-defined its matrix that it produces countless echoes afterward, unable to renew its canvas. And if time loops don’t abound on screens with the same regularity as the priestesses chant in Latin, they remain, following Un jour sans fin, their own sub-genre, with a rust-proof code. red sticks.
Therefore, it is very nice, let alone magical, to see this narrative ecosystem mutate (a little). The first crack in the building came with the stunning Russian Dolls series, which revealed under artistic New York varnish a welcome dizzying absurdity, and today it’s Palm Springs’ turn to update this motif a bit. Rather than offering the character to manage his life during the same day nauseating rehearsal, the scenario prefers to learn how two people will do their best to let go of the expected rails.
If one can see in Un Jour sans fin the cinematographic transcription of “die and repeat” (literally one of the first rules of video games), Palm Springs is interesting that the story is rejected in an open world way. Sarah and Nyles evolved in a near-perfect universe, providing all the activity, fun, distraction, and potential evil, which they would describe in each thread. And this is until they create their own rules, certain grammars, “emerging gameplay”.
As a result, this shifting understanding of the system logically results in a shifting understanding of the funny codes. Aided by Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg’s incredible ease for a muddled meta or score, this film pays for itself the luxury of being constantly hilarious, even when it allows itself some perks or some big tricks. Both updating and updating habits, he also lets himself touch a few times, as he plays with the limits of his protagonists, and the way bullshit affects their existence.
Their bickering systematically works on multiple levels, and their articulation with editing is most often a source of laughter, thanks to the beautiful cohesion between Max Barbakow’s staging and Andy Siara’s writing. Both seem functional at first, even too discreet, but reveal, as soon as the concept of footage spreads before our eyes, a huge escape capacity. They maliciously overspeed and manage better than expected to subvert the genre code.
Therefore, we only regret that in its final move, the story falls a little too much at the feet of romantic comedies. Not that that’s a crime in itself, but Palm Springs burns this cartridge without questioning itself too much, and replays on autopilot much of the disembodied tropism of the programmed bluette. Nothing ruins the fun taken on this labyrinth romance, but a bit of laziness is enough to leave it with a slight sense of unfinished business.