Groundhog Day (VHS, 2000, Box Office Hits Collection)

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Groundhog Day --- Bill Murray gets stuck in a hilarious time loop

Feb 29, 2008
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:really inventive story, extremely funny, Bill Murray at his best, extremely original

Cons:none

The Bottom Line: Funny and entertaining, Groundhog Day reinvented Bill Murray who gives an excellent performance on a highly recommended film.


Phil Conners is a weatherman for a Pittsburgh television station that makes a career out of presenting a jovial front to the public. Though it seems he wants to further his career early in the film, possibly to anchor the news, for now he is being tasked with going to Punxsutawney. There he is going to do a live news piece about the groundhog named Phil, and whether or not he sees the shadow that could prolong winter an additional 6 weeks. He exudes the confidence that this is far below him in the spectrum of journalism (or news), but he does it anyways out of responsibility to the job. Along for the ride is new producer for the station Rita, and their cameraman Larry. This isn't going to be your average newscast though, as a snow storm traps the crew in Punxsutawney after groundhog day, and keeps Phil in town.

The following morning, Phil wakes up to find himself still stuck in the city, only something odd seems to be happening with everything around him. First he thinks that the radio station is playing the same tape from the day before, then he meets someone on the street who doesn't remember him from yesterday, and then he is called to report on groundhog day for a second time. It starts to dawn on him a little later than the audience, but Phil comes to realize that he is stuck in a time loop, repeating groundhog day the next day, and the next day, and even the next day. No matter what Phil does during the day, whether he decides to stay out, go to bed early, or even speed down railroad tracks with his car, he always wakes up back in bed the next morning to the music of Sonny and Cher playing on his clock radio.

Bill Murray stars as Phil, and this is what I feel to be one of his best roles on film. I was a huge fan of him in Ghostbusters and Stripes when I was younger, but Groundhog Day became one of those classics from my very first viewing. At first the film presents itself as a comedy where Murray's character can get away with anything he wants, not having to suffer the repercussions on the following day, but eventually he learns that there is more to life than the ultimate freedom he has been afforded. With Murray at the helm, he is able to blend a lot of very inventive humor with his typical wit, and come away with a really amazing performance. Opposite of Murray is Andie MacDowell as his producer, and Saturday Night Live Alum Chris Elliott as the cameraman. Both are really good, and bring a lot to the film, but this is by far a Murray vehicle, and he drives this one all the way to victory at the finish line. The best part is that we end up really caring about the character, and thus want to stick with him to see if he can find a way out of the never-ending day.

Groundhog Day is really one of those inventive films that presents a story that does have a message buried within it, but that doesn't hammer the audience over the head with it. Instead, the writers and the director take it out on the main character, and force him to realize that he has really been living his life the wrong way. To get to that realization though, the story takes a lot of twists and turns that mix a lot of great humor with a strong story. Surprisingly, the story covers up its own loose ends, and doesn't try to impress a view on the audience that you wouldn't figure out for yourself. Back to the director for a moment, who is none other than Egon from Ghostbusters, Harold Ramis, who also presents a commentary on the DVD, and explains some of the intricacies of the story. He gives even more light to an already impressive film, and really in the end, made me like Groundhog Day even more. This is a highly recommended film suitable for the whole family, but which will be found most amusing to adults and fans of Bill Murray.












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