Now that Palm Springs has made its way to Hulu, audiences are figuring out why Max Barbakow’s high-concept romantic comedy broke a record for industry sales at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Co-stars Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti have chemistry to burn, and the movie understands exactly how best to utilize its hilarious time-loop concept… even on a limited budget.
This is Barbakow’s debut feature film (after a series of shorts), and he shot it with his cast in 21 days. That’s insanity. Because they were on a time crunch, and limited in funds, it meant that some clever ideas Barbakow and his co-writer, Andy Siara, cooked up had to be thrown out. When the guys came on our ReelBlend podcast, we asked them about crazy ideas they might have pitched to Samberg, given the fact that he can’t die. Siara told us:
There were definitely conversations, especially in the first couple of years. There were just me and Max trying to entertain each other. There were many ideas in those earlier days that went outside of Palm Springs. I remember there was something about actually being on that airplane to Equatorial Guinea. Budgetary restraints and all that, we wanted to set some rules for ourselves. Just keeping it in Palm Springs with the exception of the one scene where we are in Austin in that drive. There was a big casino sequence at some point. Doing a small budget movie, you can’t have it all.
That’s one of the funniest lines in the screenplay. As time-loop veteran Nyles (Samberg) is explaining to Sarah (Milioti) that no matter what they do, they’ll always wake up in Palm Springs the next morning – sort of like Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day – Nyles confesses to one day flying as far as Equatorial Guinea. And it could have been a fun sequence to film, if the guys had access to a budget that allowed them to travel!
As it stands, Palm Springs makes the most of its single location. Yes, Nyles wakes up every day at a desert resort. But he’s also forced to endure a wedding reception (for which he was meant to be a guest), and he spends his time messing with other characters, romancing Sarah, and… well, let’s just say “avoiding” the character played by J.K. Simmons.
Want to hear the full conversation with Max Barbakow and Andy Siara, dig into Episode 125 of ReelBlend by clicking here:
And if you haven’t yet checked out Palm Springs, the movie (that was supposed to make its way to theaters) is instead waiting for audiences on Hulu right now, giving you something fun and funny to do this weekend, or in the weeks ahead. You can also read our review, if you still need incentive on whether to check it out or not.