Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Groundhog Day. A-
It's a risky move to make a comedy about a man who keeps living the same day over and over again. On the surface it sounds brilliant, but there are all sorts of hindrances that arise from it. The most notable I think is that it puts the movie in grave danger of being too repetitive. Gladly, the script by Harold Ramis (who also directs) and Danny Rubin maintains a steady narrative flow by incorporating more than enough comic scenarios that ramify from the roots of the idea. This is a funny movie because of the stellar script, but would it come across as naturally as it does if not for the performance by Bill Murray? This is an actor who has entertained us with countless comic performances, but I'm not sure if any are as endearing as this one. He plays a man who is forced to find a way to live a life that never goes anywhere. He starts out confused, then becomes angry, and finally realizes that he can still do some good in spite of his situation. The movie starts out as pure comedy, but once it settles in, the story shifts into more romantic and dramatic territory. It's a story that moves us because it shows how the things we take for granted we never fully appreciate. Groundhog Day is a serious movie, but thankfully it's never reduced to pure drama. Its sense of humor is not only integral to the movie, but its heart. And because of the humor, the movie never becomes platitudinous, even though we do see where it's going towards the end.