Groundhog Day (1993) / Comedy-Fantasy
MPAA Rated: PG for some thematic elements
Running time: 101 min.
Cast: Bill Murray, Andie McDowell, Chris Elliott, Brian Doyle-Murray, Stephen Tobolowski, Rick Overton, Marita Geraghty, Rick Ducommun, Angela Paton, Robin Duke
Small role: Harold Ramis, Michael Shannon
Director: Harold Ramis
Screenplay: Harold Ramis, Danny Rubin
Review published August 26, 2000
Groundhog Day falls into the category of movies that get better with age, and also one that is especially enjoyable when viewing on the second or third time, which is fitting considering the plotline. In my opinion, this is comedy done right. No need for sight gags, slapstick, gross-out humor or sexual innuendo -- just a little ingenuity, great performances, and a whole lot of heart. Although you might initially think that there's no way a film showing the same day over and over again could be funny, it just is.
Phil (Murray, Quick Change) is an acerbic weatherman tired of having to go through the obligatory coverage of the groundhog every Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, PA., and makes little attempt to hide his disdain for the tradition. On the way out of town, he, along with the producer (MacDowell, Hudson Hawk) and cameraman (Elliott, There's Something About Mary), get snowed in from leaving town and have to stay in a hotel overnight. Things get a little too deja vu for Phil when he wakes up to discover he has to relive yesterday all over again...and again...and again. He finds that no matter what he tries, he can't seem to get out of this nightmare, and all the while he's falling more and more in love with his producer with each day that passes.
As I said, it's pretty difficult to believe that they could pull off a movie where the same things happen every day. It's even more difficult to believe that smart-alecky Bill Murray, at this stage of his career, would be cast as the lead in a romantic comedy. Perhaps even more astonishing still is the fact that the makers of Groundhog Day would not only succeed in every area, but that they would do it so amazingly well that it ranks among the best Hollywood comedies of the Nineties.
Bill Murray may never have been better, and it's by far director Ramis' (Club Paradise, Caddyshack) best film, with a quality script by Danny Rubin (S.F.W.) and a supporting cast of funny actors. Groundhog Day is a terrific comedy, endearing romance, and quality family film all rolled into one. This is one movie you won't mind reliving over again and again..
©2000 Vince Leo