There’s a reason people keep returning to Groundhog Day’s concept of infinite looping timelines—it lends itself as much to philosophy as it does comedy. How does one change when they know they become an eternal, all-knowing god? It’s a narrative style that’s been toyed with time and again in the years aince Harold Ramis and Bill Murray’s 1993 comedy—perhaps most inventively in the Happy Death Day franchise—but Palm Springs brings with it a self-awareness that amplifies the comedy without minimizing its tantalizing array of questions.
Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti lead Max Barbakow’s film, which made history at this year’s Sundance when Hulu and Neon shelled out $17.5 million (and 69 cents) for it, making it the biggest sale in the festival’s history. And, according to our own A.A. Dowd, it “might be worth the price.”
Watch the trailer below.
In his Sundance review of the film, he called it a “sweet, madly inventive, totally mainstream romantic comedy” that, at least in some respects, improves upon Groundhog Day. “This is a true duet, putting its metaphysically imprisoned leads on more or less equal footing,” he writes, “with Milioti expressing a screwball agony—a hilarious existential desperation—Andie MacDowell certainly wasn’t afforded.”
That two-hander nature is key, as we’re spared the introduction to the concept as Samberg’s Nyles has already been looping for ages when Milioti’s Sarah unwittingly joins him while attending her sister’s Palm Springs wedding. “It’s one of those infinite timeline situations you might’ve heard about,” Nyles deadpans, an acknowledgment of the audience’s familiarity with the premise.
Here’s an official synopsis:
When carefree Nyles (Andy Samberg) and reluctant maid of honor Sarah (Cristin Milioti) have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, things get complicated when they find themselves unable to escape the venue, themselves, or each other.
Palm Springs will stream on Hulu (and play a handful of select drive-ins) on July 10.