Phips’s review published on Letterboxd:
Went to the theater to watch A Most Wanted Man, bought the tickets, got a call and found out that there was no parking anywhere around the theater so we wouldn't make the film in time, had to return the tickets and go home, conversation turned to Bill Murray, and I decided to watch this. Is this what you call serendipity?
Oh my god this was funny. I am pretty certain that I tried watching this years ago but didn't like/finish it and I didn't remember anything about it.
A few minutes in I thought I had the whole thing figured out. He's going to a town he doesn't like and there's a blizzard coming so naturally he'd get stuck and during his forced layover he'd learn to like the people there and become a good person. Well, after watching the film I thought that I couldn't have been more wrong. Typing this out, it looks like I was actually pretty spot on--minus a few details. Huge details.
Bill Murray is the man. Plain and simple. What About Bob is one of my all-time favorite comedies and I've liked all of his roles in Wes Anderson's flicks, but I have to admit his back catalogue is largely unknown to me. As such, some of his funnier stuff still remains a mystery to me. From what I've heard though, it will nay help reinforce my appreciation for the man's talent.
I have no idea if Groundhog Day was the among the very first to concoct a plot such as this but once things began to reveal themselves there were a number of recent films that came to mind that follow the same plot point. Whether it truly was innovative or not Groundhog Day feels worthy of being an inspiration for future (now current) films.
But seriously, how long was he there? To become an expert ice sculptor and pianist; learn French and Italian; and do a multitude of other things must've taken years.
Even if I was able to figure out the bare bones of the film very early on, Groundhog Day's unique plot twist and Murray's hilarity make the film a fantastic watch that, surprisingly for me, never feels dated.
Shout out to a prepubescent-looking Michael Shannon