Although now we are stuck with the demential and often disgustingly rude comedies, there was a time not too far from now, when it wasn’t so. That was the time of Groundhog Day, starring the excellent Bill Murray, in top shape in the role of a self-centred weatherman, a role he was born to play.
Initially, the concept may seem all too simple. The repetition of the one day (according to writer of the film Danny Rubin for thousands and thousands of years) could not only have seemed repetitive (no pun intended) but also quite tedious. It is perhaps Harold Ramis’ class, often underrated as a director of comedies, that gets this story across very well, especially through the incredibly daring black comedy moments when Bill Murray, who has had more than enough of living the same day over and over, kills himself in many different ways. It is, once again, Ramis who gets the annoyance of re-living the same day over and over across in a way that we can understand it, through Murray’s great performance, but also in the little shots, like the close ups on the clock radio and the waking up every morning with the same song, ‘I Got You Babe’, and wouldn’t everyone go crazy if they had to wake up every morning with that song, and that particular moment of the song.
The co-ordination of the comedic moments is great. A perfect example of this is the sequence where Phil the weatherman meets his annoying former school-mate Ned (who actually is an excellent supporting character), and we see the same street and the extras doing the same things and the camera placed in the same way, only Phil’s and Ned’s action different. This all adds to the definite comedic style of the movie, and the feeling that we get from watching it.
It must also be noted that Andie MacDowell is lovely, and the chemistry between her and Bill Murray is great from beginning to the end. This is perhaps because the two characters that they are playing are so suited to them that they feel comfortable in their shoes.
There are many elements that make this movie irresistible. One would wish that these elements would at least make appearences in some of the comedies out now, but it’s very rarely done.