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Palm Springs


Stars: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J K Simmons, Meredith Hagner, Peter Gallagher, Jacqueline Obradors, Tyler Hoechlin, June Squibb

Director: Max Barbakow

Cross Groundhog Day with 50 First Kisses, and add about 99 'f-bombs' and what do you get? Palm Springs that's what! This 'deja vu' comedy has been a hit at US festivals, but it's hard to see why. It's disjointed, there are no real laughs and the story doesn't play fair even by its own rules. It seems the makers had a plotline, and crudely (an appropriate word) shovelled in some scenes they hoped would get a laugh. The lacklustre direction, however, puts paid to that idea.

In a whole movie full of dislikeable characters, the plot focuses on Nyles (Samberg) who thanks to an encounter at the back of a glowing cave, is forced to live the same day - a friend's wedding - over and over again. Trapped in a time loop, he can play variations on what's going on. But, if he goes to sleep or even commits suicide or is bumped off, the end result is just the same - he still finds himself waking up next morning to the same situation at the same location.

He has a faithless girlfriend (Hagner), but gets acquainted with the bride's sister (big-eyed Milioti) who, unlike him, is determined to escape the loop into which following Nyles into the cave has landed her. Milioti's an offbeat personality, although here she's mostly reduced to rushing about the event's desert surroundings screeching WTF. And the constant repetition of ideas ensures the film's welcome soon wears thinner than its script.

On most digital platforms

David Quinlan

USA/Hong Kong 2020. UK Distributor: Amazon (Hulu). Colour by Light Iron.
90 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 07 Apr 2021