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Groundhog Day (1993)

He’s having the day of his life… over and over again.

Directed by:

Harold Ramis

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 97 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United States

If you were to combine a Frank Capra-esque feel-good tale with some sharp, sarcastic and at times cruel humour, it’s hard to imagine the result being too far different from Harold Ramis’ delightful ‘Groundhog Day’.

Bill Murray, in probably the most memorable role of his career outwith the Ghostbusting arena, shines as Phil Connors, the super-cynical TV weatherman forced to repeat the same day time and time again. It’s February 2nd which, to the people of the small town of Punxsutawney, means Groundhog Day – an annual opportunity to watch an over-sized squirrel predict the weather. For Phil, though, it means waking every morning to Sonny and Cher, endlessly trying to explain his situation to his bemused workmates (Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott), generally living through the world’s most critical case of déjà vu.

This movie contains some remarkably dark moments, most notably when Phil loses all hope and begins daily making his way through all number of fruitless suicide attempts. What shows through, however, is the transformation in his character whilst all around him remain exactly the same, and of course his eventual romance with the bubbly but distrusting Rita (MacDowell). Murray‘s never exactly been one for playing the most lovey-dovey of characters, but the relationship between him and McDowell works surprisingly well.

Why is this happening to Phil? To this day, nobody knows – and to be honest it’s not particularly important. But, much like that other Murray feel-good flick ‘Scrooged’, this is a film about changing your sneering ways and getting things right. And when Bill Murray gets things right, he really gets things right. This is easily one of the top comedies of the 90s.

It's Got: Some incredibly bad dancers – look out for them bopping away at the groundhog ceremony.

It Needs: To be watched by Jim Carrey – it could teach him a thing or three about how to be funny. Without just pulling faces, that is.

DVD Extras Collector’s Edition A fairly run-of-the-mill behind-the-scenes documentary, audio commentary with Harold Ramis, filmographies, and a few trailers – including ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Multiplicity’. DVD Extras Rating: 5/10

Alternatives:

12:01, Scrooged

Summary

A touching, thoughtful and above all funny comedy. A real classic, featuring Bill Murray at his very best.

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