Max Barbakow’s time loop comedy “Palm Springs” became the buzziest movie of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival when it sold to Neon and Hulu in a deal reportedly worth $17.5 million, making it the most expensive festival deal in history by 69 cents. Word later got out that the two companies actually spent $22 million to purchase the Lonely Island-produced comedy. Why the massive deal? Moviegoers can see for themselves as Hulu has dropped the official trailer for “Palm Springs” ahead of the film’s streaming launch this July.
The official “Palms Springs” synopsis from Hulu reads: “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” pulls from time loop comedy classics like “Groundhog’s Day” and adds the kind of R-rated comedic edge the Lonely Island is well known for in cult classic films like “Hot Rod” and “Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping.” Starring opposite Samberg and Milioti is a cast that includes J.K. Simmons, Meredith Hagner, Camila Mendes, Tyler Hoechlin, and Peter Gallagher.
In his B+ review out of Sundance, IndieWire senior film critic David Ehrlich called “Palm Springs” a “brilliant reinvention” of the “Groundhog’s Day” formula. “The movie is so touching and sharp about the ideas it chooses to spotlight,” Ehrlich writes, “Despite ‘Groundhog Day’ becoming a genre unto itself, Max Barbakow’s witty and wise movie is the first film that doesn’t just apply that old formula to a new problem, but also fundamentally alters the basics of the equation.”
How the film alters the equation is a surprise worth discovering upon first viewing. “Palm Springs” follows “Shirley” in being a Neon pick up out of Sundance 2020 that is getting a first-run debut by streaming on Hulu. “Palm Springs” had all the makings of being the summer’s breakout comedy hit in theaters, but the Hulu platform should work in the comedy’s favor and attract a big audience this summer.
“Palm Springs” will be available to stream on Hulu starting July 10. Watch the trailer for the comedy below.