Watch it - then watch it again
- Groundhog Day review by CP Customer
Bill Murray is not having a great day.
He's been stabbed, shocked, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted and burned. On the plus side, he can eat and drink anything he likes without putting on the pounds; get thrown in jail without fear of suffering a life sentence and bed just about any woman he fancies without having to worry about that morning after feeling.
You see Bill is stuck in a time loop and the results in Groundhog Day make for one of the funniest and most poignant comedies in history.
Well that's probably down to the fact that the Bafta-winning script by Danny Rubin and direction by Harold Ramis lends itself to repeated viewings.
As weatherman Phil Connors, Murray endures - and enjoys - the same day over and over while reporting on the genuine and bizarre ceremony in Pennsylvania.
This was not the first time Murray had starred in a winter's tale of a greedy man shown the error of his ways through a seasonal miracle.
In 1988, he headlined the big budget Scrooged, an enjoyably over-the-top updating of A Christmas Carol. However, while that movie rammed the 'love thy neighbour' message down your throat, Groundhog Day is far more subtle in its approach.
Treating the audience with a degree of respect rare in US comedies, this assumes you get the gag straight away and then moves on.
Connors may be a cynical, jaded old celebrity with delusions of grandeur but there's a bright spark of humanity in him that is eventually revealed through his stay in Punxsatawney.
Every morning is the same. He awakes in his cosy guest house bed at 6am to the sound of Sonny and Cher's I Got You Babe; he goes off to report on the festivities and by the time he goes to bed that night, the whole thing starts over again.
His attempts to seduce producer Rita (Andie MacDowell); his contempt for cameraman Larry (Chris Elliot) and in fact all of the inhabitants of this little town, reveal the fact that Phil Connors represents the selfish side of all of us.
As the time loop works its magic, Phil starts exploiting the conundrum for his own ends, seducing the town's babes; pinching money from dim-witted security guards and exploiting the situation for all it's worth.
When Rita resists his charms, Connors makes it his goal to win her over - even if it means living through several days of the same events in order to glean that vital bit of information which might lure her into bed.
Aside from men who will change 'poopy diapers' and can play a musical instrument, she likes French poetry - to which he laughs: "What a waste of time!"
The next day it doesn't take much for Phil to wax lyrical over a Gallic Bard - much to Rita's amazement.
Part of the beauty of this movie is the fact that Murray may be caught in a time loop but writer and director don't feel the need to explain how or why this works. It just does.
As the movie progresses, Connors realises that every day will be the same and that exploiting the predicament for his own ends just leads to misery and depression.
So he takes up piano lessons, ice sculpture and starts running round doing errands for the town's population.
On paper, such selfless acts could leave some viewers with a cavity but Murray's well worn face make you believe this is a man destined to spend eternity living the same day over and over.
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