DVD Reviews - Groundhog Day

      Date posted: February 29, 2000

Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day: Columbia Tristar Home Video; Harold Ramis, Director;
Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1, Pan & Scan, 2 Sides; Dolby Digital 5.1,
French Dolby Surround, Spanish & French Subtitles; 101 Minutes

      If Susan Anspach was a bit of a fish in Five Easy Pieces, Andie MacDowell was a frozen fillet in Sex, Lies, And Videotape. But in this film she is the perfect foil for Bill Murray as his TV producer. He’s an egotistical, insensitive weatherman cursed to cover Ground Hog Day over and over again until he finds his humanity. The premise is silly, but a good and often very funny script by Harold Rubin makes it work as a perfect vehicle for Murray’s remarkable comedic talent. SCTV veteran Ramis has a very deft hand as director, while Murray is very believable as a guy who wakes up on February 2nd over and over again, until he’s learned everything that happens that day in Punxsutawny, PA, and everybody it happens to.

      By the time he’s realized he’s head-over-heels in love with southern belle Rita (Andie), he’s also realized she thinks he’s a real snothead. So the weatherman learns everything he can to woo her, including the piano, and otherwise affects the effects of the town he’s getting to know so well every day, which is every February 2nd. Since he knows he’s going to wake up every morning to Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe on the radio, he drives cars over cliffs, saves children, tries to keep a wino from dying on the street, and generally comes to terms with himself and his repeating scenario. I won’t spill the ending, but it’s no big surprise in this amiable romantic comedy.

      The widescreen picture is superb, with the higher resolution anamorphic provides, and the soundtrack, though listed as Dolby Surround on the box is actually a very enveloping 5.1 that brings us right into the cyclic daily events of Groundhog Day. This is a film in which Bill Murray proves himself to be more than a comic, and is also filled with wonderful cameos by various other comic actors, including director Ramis. Who would have thought all those consecutive February 2nds could be so much fun?

Andrew Marshall

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