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Groundhog Day-It will be watched again and again
Groundhog Day (DVD)
Member Name: jonnyfun06
Groundhog Day (DVD)
Advantages: Bill Murray at his best
Disadvantages: Sonny and Cher
Bill Murray could well be getting typecast. His second rodent movie in as many decades could be setting a trend. After the quintessential eighties comedy, Caddyshack, where he was a grounds-man who waged a war against a gopher, our hero is a sarcastic weatherman pitted against a wily groundhog in 1992's Groundhog Day.
Phil Connors is a weatherman who gets sent to the small town of Punxsutawney to cover the annual Groundhog Day festival. With him are his new producer, Rita and his cameraman, Larry.
Phil isn't exactly fond of small towns and quirky traditions and makes this abundantly clear to his colleagues. After giving a lacklustre report, they leave the town to head back to the city when they get caught in a blizzard. The worst happens, or so it seems to Phil, and they have to spend the night back in Punxsutawney.
The next morning, Phil wakes up and Sonny and Cher are still playing on the radio, just as the previous morning. He gets ready for the day and experiences a growing sense of déjà vu. His worst fears are confirmed when he gets to the town square and sees the Groundhog Festival still in progress. It's still February 2nd. The day is repeating, again and again and again. Phil is trapped living the same day over, initially a nightmare, but he soon realises that he can shape the day to his advantage and sets about ensnaring the affections of Rita.
Ghostbusters co-star, Harold Ramis directs admirably. This film is all in the details, the careful observation of scenes and especially continuity has to be spot on for this idea to work. Just check the scenes in the diner and when Phil meets Ned, the insurance salesman. Pay attention to the background action and you'll see events repeated over the entire scene. This degree of intricacy isn't always necessary but shows how much effort went into this film.
The film itself is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. The image itself is uniformly good, if a little soft, but that may be how the original film was.
Groundhog Day comes with a Dolby Surround soundtrack in five languages. You should note that this is the same in the new Collectors edition if you're looking for DD 5.1 This is a dialogue heavy film and the sound is great at conveying that.
The music is by George Fenton and is suitable to the film. But be warned, I rapidly grew tired of the Pennsylvania Polka and my hatred of Sonny and Cher's I've Got You Babe knows no bounds.
The menu is a simple static image and the extras are limited to Filmographies and a trailer only. There are some production notes with the chapter insert, which are quite informative though.
Bill Murray is Phil Connors and plays a role that we have seen often. The sarcastic, wisecracking smart-ass, who is quick with the quip, a character we have seen often since the days of Ghostbusters. Fortunately, the script is good enough to use his talents well, and the familiar persona doesn't become tiresome. This is definitely one of his better films.
I am not a fan of Andie MacDowell. She is pleasing enough, but her performances have never really been memorable. Here she just has to act as straight man to Bill Murray and she does that well. But as I try to recall any facets of the personality she portrayed in the role as Rita, I can't think of anything beyond bland.
The rest of the cast is good, Chris Elliot as the pathetic cameraman Larry is funny at times, but make no mistake, this is a Bill Murray vehicle and he is definitely the star, and it's on his performance that this film rests.
This is a likeable enough comedy, especially if you are a fan of Bill Murray. The idea of the repeating day isn't often done in movies. Here there is no attempt at explanation or any theories expounded. This makes for a better movie, as you accept what is happening without question and just enjoy the story that unfolds.
If there is one problem with the film is the Phil and Rita romance. Phil's repeated attempts to seduce her rapidly grow tiring and the interlude slows the movie right down before it picks up again. Andie MacDowell as Rita is fine when Bill Murray plays off her, but there is little chemistry between the two, and the happy ending seems trite. So by and large, this is a funny film that is enjoyable by everyone. Bill Murray is on top form and if you are a fan then all the better.
Summary: A good family film, with some good laughs