Groundhog Day is the perfect 90s rom-com
In “Groundhog Day,” comedic actor Bill Murray plays cynical weatherman Phil Connors,while covering Groundhog Day in Punxsatawney, he is forced to relive his least favorite day of the year over and over again.
Bored with his life, Phil heads up to Punxsatawney, to report on the Groundhog Day Festival. Much to his surprise, he finds himself trapped in a rerun of his least favorite day of the year. Every day, he wakes up at 6:00 A.M to the same radio sound, Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” as well as a series of encounters with his producer Rita(played by Andie MacDowell), his cameraman(Played by Chris Elliot) and an eccentric insurance salesman who knew him in high school.
With no tomorrow, and no consequences, Phil amuses himself by overeating, robbing a car as well as seducing a local woman. He refines his lines to win over Rita but she breaks away from him every time. Even his various suicide attempts amount to nothing. Eventually realizing that the only thing he can change is himself, Phil tries to become a better person.
Bill Murray delivers one of his best performances,offering his comedic side,sensitive side and his angry side as well as his gift for being a subtle presence onscreen. Murray showcases his ability to act with facial expressions that many actors do vocally. The film is also blessed with great supporting performances by Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliot, and Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned.
The Film’s Message
It is easy to watch this movie and simply say “great comedy” but this movie is more than just a comedy. This is a brilliant film because it hides a deep message inside its comedy. For instance, in Phil’s case, he learns that for his life to change, he must let go of everything he knows to be true and become aware of his life. If he misses one thing, the change doesn’t happen. For each thing he misses he must start over. Although the movie starts out as just another typical Bill Murray comedy,it quickly switches gears to a more innovative movie about love and living in the moment.
Harold Ramis’s direction is a great balance of funny and sensitive and I can’t help but think he played a role in using Murray’s occasionally uncontrolled energy to help him bring focus to the role of Phil. I believe writer Danny Rubin intentionally lightened the script through Phil receiving such a noticeable reward like his relationship with Rita.
Overall, this is a great movie with a solid and thought-provoking message that doesn’t set back the comedic aspect of the movie. Groundhog Day is the kind of movie that you will want to watch repeatedly.