It would be easy to dismiss “Palm Springs” as a modern-day “Groundhog Day,” even though some of the parameters between the two movies’ internal worlds are similar. Like Bill Murray in “Groundhog,” Andy Samberg here finds himself stuck in a continuous loop while a guest at a wedding, eventually striking up a friendship with the charming Cristin Milioti, another guest who shares the same ambivalence about the circumstances about her life… until she is accidentally caught in the continuum as well, that is. They spend the rest of the movie getting to know each other and recognizing their own personal value, and while the plot is meandering by design, it’s perfect for this type of all-over-the-place narrative: Not unlike Amazon’s “Forever,” it’s one of those quietly funny and affecting comedies that takes a fantastical narrative approach as a way to literalize its themes with a knowing nudge-and-wink towards the audience. Samberg is perfectly cast, relaxed and confident in his first serious role (not to mention kinda sexy, which took me by surprise), while Milioti (who has had terrific guest appearances on shows like “30 Rock” and “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet”) lights up the screen in a star-making performance. More traditional audiences will likely get frustrated by the movie’s repetitive structure and its light pretentions, but adventurous folks with enjoy it tremendously.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)