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Palm Springs

Year: 2020
Production Co: Limelight
Director: Max Barbakow
Writer: Andy Siara, Max Barbakow
Cast: Andy Samberg, Cristin Miliotti, JK Simmons, Peter Gallagher, Camila Mendes, June Squibb

You can hear the pitch meeting at the production company in your head; 'it's a slacker Gen Y Groundhog Day love story!', and from that conceit all things spring.

But there's one crucial, slightly clever difference. Nyles (Andy Samberg), attending a wedding reception at a desert resort, wears shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, drinks to excess, gives a drunken, rousing speech and seems to know everything that's going to happen with cynical resignation. As we later learn, he's already been in his repeat-every-day time loop for ages and had resigned himself to spending eternity living the same day – that of his girlfriend's best friend's wedding – over and over.

One of the bemused guests, maid of honour and sister of the bride Sarah (Cristin Milotti), is intrigued, gravitating to Nyles as the party goes on. Sarah is the black sheep of her well-to-do family, drinking, moving away to live her own life and not quite having it together. Nyles shows her around the resort at all the stuff he's seen a million times, including his vacuous girlfriend Misty cheating on him. They run out to the desert to get it on, but Nyles is suddenly shot with an arrow.

He drags himself into a nearby cave that's opened up in an earth tremor, screaming for Sarah not to follow him but she does, waking up the next morning in her bed at the resort, the wedding all yet to happen.

Confronting Nyles because she's sure he knows what's going on, Sarah is horrified to learn that she's stuck in the same weird temporal vortex, doomed to live the same day over and over forever. She tries to navigate her new world by leaving the resort, walking in front of a truck, etc, all to no avail.

The world-weary Nyles explains that he's done it all, had a million one night stands, committed suicide countless times and basically given up. His attacker, Roy, is another wedding guest who did drugs with him and also got stuck in the loop, blaming Nyles and sometimes hunting him down for the revenge and sport of it.

But when Nyles discovers the worst thing Sarah's done over the wedding weekend she's taken off, unable to accept being stuck after her behaviour, and Nyles spends weeks (of the repeated day) searching for her, realising he's fallen in love with her.

Sarah has been reading about temporal physics and quantum mechanics and thinks she has a plan to break the loop, but when Nyles finds her again he pleads with her not to do it, preferring to repeat history forever with her than live a normal life without her.

If you want to dig for themes the subtext is all about meaning and consequence; it's something of a Gen Y call to arms about not wasting endless days on aimless hook-ups and drug use and realising that life and love are risks. But it's also a down the line comedy with plenty of laugh out loud moments and Milotti and Samberg have a breezy, rambunctious chemistry that wins you over.

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