The plot is traditional and simple. Bill Murray plays an arrogant local TV weatherman Phil Connors, who goes to the town "Punxsutawney" in Pennsylvania to cover the traditional "Groundhog Day" event that takes place in the town. However, after being stuck in the town due to a horrible snow storm, Phil finds himself to be stuck in a time loop and is now repeating the day of "Groundhog Day" over and over and over. I'm sure most of us have seen that plot done a bunch of times before, especially when it comes to someone wishing that it was Christmas everyday, but I personally think this is the perfect version of the traditional time loop story. Yeah, if I had one criticism of the plot, my question would be how is this time loop happening to him, but then again, it didn't really feel needed because not only is the story executed well without an explanation but it also lets the viewer think for themselves. Also "The Twilight Zone" takes strange things all the time without explanation and look how popular and great the show is. While many do prefer the Christmas Everyday story (Including myself) I think the idea of having this traditional story take place on a Holiday that most of us can care less about is what also makes the film so special and unique. I mean, come on, how many times have we heard that timeless Christmas tale over and over. Furthermore, it would also feel like a holiday spin off on the Christmas film "Scrooged" that also starred Bill Murray on taking a traditional classic Christmas story that's been done to death and modernizing it, not to mention that Bill Murray has already played a jerk who works for TV. Yeah, it was pretty wise not to make this a Christmas film.
Bill Murray performance in this film is indeed one of his best performances of all time. I really do admire him every time he's on screen. He really does capture the fun, the sadness and the madness that the character is going through. I also enjoy watching him transform from a funny yet unlikable character to a character that you feel pity for who suddenly does become likable, while still keeping that fun Bill Murray charm. The film has a lot of things for Murray to work with, and man does he take every chance he gets. Above all, I also love watching the many different scenarios that this guy goes through as time is repeating. He goes from confusion; to acting selfish and having fun; to getting annoyed to the point where he tries to commit suicide; to making the best of his life, while performing many good deeds to redeem himself. Thank god that he hasn't taken the role of a psychopath, can you imagine that? It’d be like real world “Grand Theft Auto”. I also like that while the film has a narrative structure, it still lets us try to think for our self on why and how he's repeating time and how long he has been reliving the same day over and over and over. It could be weeks, months, years, maybe even decades, who knows?!
Aside from the writing and Bill Murray's performance, everything else is great. The characters are all likable and are really fun to be around and to get to know. Even the ones who didn't interest me in the beginning start to become interesting and likable. The only major supporting characters in the film, are the two crew members that follow Bill Murray around. Andie MacDowell as the love interest Rita is not only great and likable in the role, but the chemistry and scenes that she and Bill Murray share is absolutely perfect. It's fun, romantic, interesting and sad. When you see them have a great time together, you're happy and feeling the love, but then realize that Murray is sadly going to wind up repeating the same day again with her not remembering a thing at all, but while realizing that, you still have a hope deep down inside you that maybe Murray will be able to see tomorrow. It's just a really engaging relationship. Then there's Chris Elliot as the camera man Larry, who is just as fun and enjoyable as Murray is. Maybe not as interesting as the two leads, but he's still an all around fun character. The cinematography, atmosphere, editing, and pacing is really perfect and does capture that feel of you being in a time loop with Murray. There were even times when you see a scene play back to back on the same situation, but does something different from the previous situation and at first I thought there was something wrong with the film until I realized they were doing something different with it. The songs and score are great as well and appropriately fits in every scene it's used for. Just for the record, I will never be listening to the Sonny and Cher song "I Got You Babe” again without thinking of this film and I swear if I heard that song when I wake up, I might freak. I also enjoy the films theme song "Weatherman" written by Harold Ramis and George Fenton and sung by Delbert McClinton, it's a pretty fun and catchy song.
This film feels like an experience and is all around a fantastic fantasy comedy. The story and writing is terrific; Bill Murray is outstanding; the characters are fun and likable; the jokes are funny; its look and feel is spot on; it's just an all together great film and is a film that I don't mind watching every "GroundHog" day.