If there’s one thing the movies of the late 80s and early 90s were into, it was warm-hearted comedies with lessons to impart. Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day is an excellent example of this type of film. Starring Andie MacDowell and Bill Murray in what was to be an iconic role, this farcical comedy takes a knock-out-of-the-park premise and shapes it realistically and impressively into a finely molded sculpture, ceaselessly entertaining and endlessly rewatchable; a bit ironic, given the story.
You know the plot: a disgruntled weatherman finds himself waking up to the same exact day, every day, and is forced to relive it and rethink his choices and attitude, and ultimately winds up a better person from the experience. The humor comes from how Murray takes advantage of his situation initially, before coming to terms with it and using it to his advantage in a much more positive direction. This film would not have worked were it not for two things: an amazingly prescient script, and a solid core performance from Murray, and both are without question the stars of the film.
Stephen Sondheim once considered making a musical adaptation of Groundhog Day, but dropped the project stating that to try and make a musical of the film would be to “gild the lily”; that is, to unnecessarily add something to that which is already perfect. I don’t know if I’d call Groundhog Day perfect, but it is definitely pushing the line, and that makes it a winner in my book. I actually hadn’t seen this one until just now, and I’m glad I finally did.
Arbitrary Rating: 9/10