Once you get past the obvious comparisons to this movie’s predecessors and any nit-picks about the rules governing this universe, you are left staring at the soul of the movie which is displayed with no subtlety or fanfare.
Palm Springs asks “what is the meaning of life?” and gives a myriad of answers before settling on something between “you only live once” and “let’s make something out of this while we still can.” It is honestly a bit uncomfortable to try to reckon with this movie after spending a little over a year living through a simultaneously horrifying and abjectly dull global pandemic, but I’m sure I’m not the first person to recognize the parallel between the monotony of our mid-pandemic daily cycles and the monotony on display in this movie.
I suspect that the question asked by this movie will grow to a deafening level as people emerge from the pandemic and are forced to cope with burnout from never-ending work and the realizations that whatever mediocre settings we find ourselves in could very well be what we are stuck with. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti’s characters enter the film already disillusioned with life, dependent on alcohol to tolerate even the most basic human interactions, and I fear that the escapist, mind-numbing kind of world they created for themselves may have begun to set for those of us who survived this pandemic.
I suppose, all of that being said, my only complaint is the easiness with which the problem is solved. A bit of resolve and science (as a convenient tool or moral to the story, either way it has the same effect) is all that is required to escape the hardship and reenter life with newfound joy. This seems a bit unrealistic, but then again, I’m trying to compare this movie’s personal scope to the reality we all have lived through over the last year, so it is probably my fault.
See this also on my Letterboxd