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I’ve Got You, Babe

August 4, 2010

You know what’s a really charming and funny Bill Murray movie?  Groundhog Day.  It’s got a very simple premise, just with one item that requires you to suspend your belief.  Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, an extremely egocentric, sarcastic weatherman who is once again forced to travel out to Punxsutawney, Philadelphia to cover the Groundhog Day celebrations featuring the famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil.  He travels there with producer Rita and cameraman Larry, and all he does is complain about the assignment.  His actual coverage of the event is rather uninspired as well.  To make matters worse, a blizzard he predicted would miss the area prevents them from leaving.  So he has to stay in Punxsutawney.  The next day, he wakes up to the exact same Sunny and Cher song, I Got You Babe, that greeted him on Groundhog Day.  And he is horrified to discover that it’s not just the song that’s repeating.  He’s reliving the entirety of Groundhog Day.  And as he finds out, he’s reliving it over and over and over.  So Phil has to figure out how to keep his sanity and how to escape this nightmare time loop, all while dealing with growing feelings for Rita and his own boredom.

Bill Murray does have a great tendency to play total assholes and generally irreverent characters.  But it’s most interesting here to see him as Phil Connors because he has to grow to like what he’s stuck with if he isn’t going to go completely insane.  And he does flirt a bit with insanity when he eventually drives himself and Punxsutawney Phil off a cliff.  And still wakes up the next morning.  But the whole thing is just a wonderfully constructed story that eventually has a very happy, almost A Christmas Carol-esque ending, as Phil gets freed from the time loop after having improved himself and the lives of the people of Punxsutawney.  So not only is Bill Murray absolutely hilarious as Phil with his sarcasm and his reactions to just about everything, everything ends out fine in the end.  Except for Larry, who turns out to be a tad of a weirdo anyway.  The story’s not too long, but it’s created well enough that you feel some of Phil’s frustration yourself as you have to hear to I Got You Babe and the Groundhog Day reverie repeatedly.  But it doesn’t happen so many times without variation that you just get bored.  This movie may not be side-splitting (since it isn’t just about jokes and gags every second), and it certainly isn’t visionary.  But it’s a really funny, at times touching platform for Bill Murray to show how much of a comedic genius he is.  It’s worth every minute.

Story: 9.2      Cinematography: 8.0      Soundtrack: 8.5      Acting: 9.0      Overall: 9.0

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