We’re not quite back to going to the cinema and I’m looking forward to it. I hope it’ll feel like I’ve not been away, just the usual rush because I always get there late, the interminable adverts that I hoped my dallying would have spared me, the silly admonishment about turning off the mobile rather than putting it on silent because the light disturbs when they should focus on NOT SELLING SODDING POPCORN IF THEY DON’T WANT THEIR PATRONS DISTURBED… sorry, but really. I fear that it will seem new, odd, worrisome. Not Groundhog Day at all.
I sort of hoped for that with Palm Springs, the new movie with more than a little homagerie to Bill Murray’s best work. I adore Groundhog Day, and have watched it more times than I care to recall. Like Love Actually, The Big Sleep, North By North West, Blade Runner, Planes Trains and Automobiles and Butch Cassidy I never tire. I don’t want to try and understand why these bits of celluloid rather than, say, Citizen Kane or Star Wars tick my repeat boxes, but they do. I realise they pin my culturometer on the juvenile part of the spectrum, but that’s me.
So when a film comes along with a premise that fits four square with the original (which is marginally less risky than a remake) I am in two – no, several – minds about catching it.
But we live in a parallel construct that at times has seemed scripted by the auteurs of Groundhog Day so I thought, Why Not?
The difference here, and this isn’t a plot spoil, is that the Murray character, Nyles has been trapped in the 24 hour loop for a while. He accidentally drags Roy and then Sarah in with him. Roy merely wants to kill Nyles in as many ways as he can, while Sarah’s focus is on not going mad and getting out. The extra characters allow for some nice plot twists, the humour is decent and the action pacey enough that the inevitable plot holes pass by like short tunnels on a train journey; mildly irritating but not enough to stop the overall direction of travel.
It’s a bit moralising, a little worthy and, but for Roy’s understandable psychosis a touch beige. I enjoyed it but I fear it may have exposed some of the original’s flaws and that would be regrettable. Still, until I can clutch my tub of over priced ice cream and wait for the adverts promoting the ridiculously self aware and pompously named finance houses who funded the movie to end (Scrotal Newt’s Bane and Crescendo Aubergine or some such tripe), this will do.
By all means give it a whirl. Just don’t spend money on it.