Groundhog Day [1993]

Bill Murray does warmth in his most consistently effective post-Stripes comedy, a romantic fantasy about a wacky weatherman forced to relive one strange day over and over again, until he gets it right. Snowed in during a road-trip expedition to watch the famous groundhog encounter his shadow, Murray falls into a time warp that is never explained but pays off so richly that it doesn't need to be. The elaborate loop-the-loop plot structure cooked up by screenwriter Danny Rubin is crystal-clear every step of the way, but it's Murray's world-class reactive timing that makes the jokes explode, and we end up looking forward to each new variation. He squeezes all the available juice out of every scene. Without forcing the issue, he makes us understand why this fly-away personality responds so intensely to the radiant sanity of the TV producer played by Andie MacDowell. The blissfully clueless Chris Elliott (Cabin Boy) is Murray's nudnik cameraman. --David Chute

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