Groundhog Day (1993)

Rating: B

Dir: Harold Ramis
Star: Bill Murray, Andie McDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky

Much like Die Hard, this film has become an icon, inspiring everything from 50 First Dates, through an Italian remake (È già ieri) to a Xena episode. You need only say the title, and as much as a furry forecaster, people now think of having to repeat the same day endlessly. The reason is simple: Bill Murray. As arrogant, acerbic weatherman Phil Connors, condemned to live a 24-hour loop in a small Pennsylvania town until he genuinely mends his ways, his performance is one of true genius – it beats me why this was never recognised with anything more than an MTV Movie Award. Probably wisely, there’s not even an attempt to explain precisely what has happened, but the ways in which he deals with it are entirely reasonable, and likely reflect what any of us would do in a similar situation.

The endless repetition of one day could quickly get dull for the audience, but Danny Rubin’s script explores all the potential inherent in the wonderful idea, and Murray delivers on them with a level of sarcastic wit that is just fabulous. Less a success than the comedy is the inevitable romance with his producer; McDowell delivers her usual one-dimensional, former model performance, though it’s probably less of an issue here than it has been. Her character is just too saintly to be credible; if she is really as wonderful as she seems here, why has no-one snapped her up already? Still, perhaps her character was just having a really good day…in which case Connors will be in for a nasty shock in the sequel. 😉