The biggest purchase at Sundance was Palm Springs, an Andy Ssmberg-fronted re-imagination of Groundhog Day.
Why are these films that feature a day replayed again and again treated as comedies prominently featuring famous comedians? I keep thinking that if the idea was carried to the big screen by a Nigerian filmmaker, the resulting film would be nothing but an all out horror. Just imagine being forced to live a Monday morning in Lagos again and again. It’s enough to make one wish for the rapture.
Nyles has no Lagos traffic to face. In fact just before we first realise what he is going through, he is enjoying a romance in what looks like a rocky wilderness. He is attacked by a stranger and next we know he has to flee. The scene is filmed to look a bit like horror but the mood shifts. His lover follows him into a cave with some incandescence within and it is only then that the viewer is introduced to the reality of Nyles’ situation.
He has to attend the same the same wedding again and again after waking up as his girlfriend prepares to attend the same wedding. The carefree Nyles now has a companion, somewhat like Bill Murray did in Groundhog Day. But Palm Springs has a lot more zaniness going on. It is not exactly the most satisfying comedy or even the most clearly understandable one, but I did enjoy seeing JK Simmons, as a murderous old acquaintance of Nyles, turn up.
Is that why so much money was splashed to acquire it at Sundance? Don’t look at me. I don’t know.