WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A weatherman reporting on Phil the groundhog's big annual prediction day in Punxsutawney, finds himself waking up to the same day, in the same town with the same people and occurrences, over and over and over again. No matter what he does...he can't move on to the next day. Fun ensues.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Probably one of the more original comedies to come out during the 1990s, this film takes a very clever premise and runs with it. You get Bill Murray at his Bill Murray-est, a cutesy romance, a wholesome message and plenty of creative turns. It's probably not the best film for re-watch value (since the actual twists are most of the fun the first time around), but if you haven't seen the movie, do yourself a favor and rent/buy it today. We also get Andie MacDowell in her heyday as the romantic lead, with her big-ass grin, her poofy hair and her down home attitude. Add that to a solid cast of secondary characters ranging from Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky and a few local hicks, and you've got yourself the makings of a solid comedy. The thing that I probably liked best about this movie was that it took a premise that could get redundant after a while, but kept spinning it into new directions.
For example, Murray's character doesn't initially believe what it happening to him, but then he can't deny it and starts getting into it. First, he has fun with his newfound situation, then he takes advantage of the things he knows, then he learns to harness its power and get laid, then he gets depressed about it all and tries to end it, until finally...he accepts his fate and begins to act unselfishly for once in his life (which is kind of the point of the film perhaps?). And if you want to look into the deeper meaning behind the film, it's pretty much like a 12-step program for an asshole, who needs to stop being so self-centered and learn the art of being selfless. It's also a cute romance which works on some emotional level, especially near the end. Of course, the basic "magical" twist behind the film is never really revealed, but that never bothered me. The point was that I bought into it the whole way through and appreciated it. And am I the only one who can't stop humming the "Pennsylvania Polka" tune in my head every time that I watch this movie? Unique, funny and entertaining, all packed into one. All I could say is...enjoy!
The commentary track by director Harold Ramis is not one of the best ones that I've ever heard, in fact, it's pretty bad. I like the guy in real life, seems very upbeat and down to earth, but he was just too boring here. He barely says anything, lots of deal spots especially the last half hour, does little more than announce the cast's names and basic items and laughs at some of his own jokes (which is fine, but it doesn't make for an interesting listen). All in all, the guy wasn't as bad as Tim Burton, but the track is definitely not too informative, with the only semi-interesting bits already included in the featurette.
There is a 25-minute featurette entitled "Weight of Time" which presents interviews with the director, producer, screenwriter and stars of the film (but no Bill Murray???), all talking about the casting, the story and the message behind the film. It was pretty interesting, especially for fans of the film who will learn new things, like the fact that the original screenplay actually started the film at the halfway point, with Murray's character already into his groove. Of course, it goes without saying that the absence of Bill Murray from the featurette makes no sense whatsoever and pissed me off, but what are you gonna do? There are also a few outtakes included in this feature, which are funny because they show Murray being goofy behind the scenes.
The disc also includes theatrical trailers, including this film's own original (which is quite funny), filmographies and a pretty cute, animated town menu to get around.
Columbia should be ashamed of itself for calling DVDs like this one "special edition". I mean, c'mon!?! What's so special about it? It has a weak video transfer, a dinky commentary track and a basic featurette....can someone please point out the "special" part? Anyway, thankfully the movie is very funny and one of the more original comedies from the past decade, so if you're in the mood to laugh or twist your head around a little, rent this baby and prepare to be entertained. Of course, fans of this movie might as well buy this disc, although the extras are far from what I would have expected from a "special edition" (and Murray doesn't even show up in the commentary track or the featurette!!)