Film: Groundhog Day

Cover image
Film:

Groundhog Day

Director: Harold Ramis
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Sony Pictures

Bill Murray does warmth in his most consistently effective post-Stripes comedy, a romantic fantasy about a wacky weatherman forced to relive one strange day over and over again, until he gets it right. Snowed in during a road-trip expedition to watch the famous groundhog encounter his shadow, Murray falls into a time warp that is never explained but pays off so richly that it doesn’t need to be. The elaborate loop-the-loop plot structure cooked up by screenwriter Danny Rubin is crystal-clear every step of the way, but it’s Murray’s world-class reactive…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Bill Murray does warmth in his most consistently effective post-Stripes comedy, a romantic fantasy about a wacky weatherman forced to relive one strange day over and over again, until he gets it right. Snowed in during a road-trip expedition to watch the famous groundhog encounter his shadow, Murray falls into a time warp that is never explained but pays off so richly that it doesn’t need to be. The elaborate loop-the-loop plot structure cooked up by screenwriter Danny Rubin is crystal-clear every step of the way, but it’s Murray’s world-class reactive timing that makes the jokes explode, and we end up looking forward to each new variation. He squeezes all the available juice out of every scene. Without forcing the issue, he makes us understand why this fly-away personality responds so intensely to the radiant sanity of the TV producer played by Andie MacDowell. The blissfully clueless Chris Elliott (Cabin Boy) is Murray’s nudnik cameraman. —David Chute

Decent, lighthearted and fully amusing slapstick is hard to come by these days, and 1993’s Groundhog Day manages to also be genuinely wise about the human condition. All this and belly laughs too! Bill Murray stars as Phil, a bored, petulant news reporter, who is ordered to give his annual live report from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2. Though desperate to get out of the one-horse town and the appallingly sentimental assignment, Phil finds himself reliving the same day over and over again until he finally mends his ways. The film takes an absurd situation and explores its every imaginable comic possibility. Because none of the other characters are aware that Groundhog Day is continually repeating itself, Phil goes through a repertoire of responses, from conniving lust for Rita (Andie MacDowell) to gleeful nihilism to a Zen resignation worthy of Buster Keaton. Murray is reliably good, and this flick gives him a chance to be warm (though never fuzzy).

Barnes and Noble

This modern comedy classic stars Bill Murray as a rude, temperamental television weatherman on assignment in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the town’s quaint Groundhog Day festivities. When an unexpected blizzard forces him to spend the night in a local hotel, Murray awakens to find that some unexplained, supernatural powers have sentenced him to re-live the same day over and over again—until something inside him changes for the better. Fueled by cleverly appropriated themes from various Christmas classics, GROUNDHOG’s simplicity is its strength. Writer/director Harold Ramis shows a deft hand, gracefully orchestrating a story that might otherwise have dissolved into maddening repetition. The script is subtle, consistently funny and true to it’s own strange logic. And Bill Murray brings a sharp comic edge to what is essentially a sweet tale of personal redemption, made all the sweeter by the grace of Andie McDowell as the woman worth waiting an eternity for. Donald Gray

Views: 613 • Modified: • Elapsed: 0.023 sec