YMMV / Groundhog Day

  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: At one point, Phil goes up at a late showing of Heidi II dressed as the titular character from Bronco Billy along with a woman dressed as Ms. Lily. Who she is, how she knows Phil, and why they're showing up for a movie wearing costumes from a different movie are never explained, but it fits within the mood of just trying whatever in the face of eternal boredom.
    • While the specifics of the scene seem kind of random, the basic situation is fairly clear: this scene appears right after the one where he seduces Nancy, and the implication is that he's going around town using his time-loop abilities to trick women into going to bed with him. The connection with Nancy is even referenced in the scene, where we see Nancy walking down the street, Phil calls out to her, she walks away quickly, then he says "My fiancée don't even remember me."
  • Broken Aesop: Intellectual and cynical Phil has to go through the hellish "Groundhog Day" Loop because he (and only he) has to become a better person. However Ned is much worse than him, he's self-centered, ditzy, nerving, gloating and is only interested in his insurance sales without having any positive quality and should be in the dock instead. The movie makes it clear that Ned is fine the way he is and there's no indication that he has to change too. This is based on opinion, as it depends on the viewer's interpretation of what exactly started the time loop (voodoo spell, the universe itself, a metaphor for reincarnation etc.) and if the rules of the time loop might apply to someone else than Phil offscreen.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Phil committing suicide... jarring. Repeatedly committing suicide? Depressing. Him casually recounting this and then declaring himself a god to Rita the next day? Strangely hilarious.
  • Double Standard: It's arguably present in the unspoken backstory of the film, which explains that Phil was cursed by a woman he'd dated and parted with on bad terms, so she deliberately trapped him in a day he'd complained bitterly about before. Apparently being a jerk in a relationship is a bigger crime than trying to condemn someone to their own personal Hell. (According to the commentary, this backstory was not considered canon to the finished film.)
    • On a more mundane level, a lengthy montage of Rita slapping Phil across the face is played for laughs.
  • Ear Worm: Then put your little hand in mine... (Even if you don't find the song catchy to begin with, it will get you through sheer repetition.)
    • Strike up the music, the band has begun / The Pennsylvania Polka!
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Ned Ryerson, chiefly because Steven Tobolowsky nails the right amount of Nice Guy Pollyanna charm that would annoy Phil and amuse the viewer.
  • Epileptic Trees: One of the more outlandish theories is that Phil was trapped in Groundhog Day for several thousand years. (Although in an earlier, discarded draft of the script, he was.) Harold Ramis estimates that it was closer to about 30-40 years.
    • It's mentioned someplace (perhaps in the older draft of the script?) that he read the entire Punxsutawney library, every book in it, by reading them one page a day. Each book would take months, if not years, to read; and there would be thousands of them in the library.
    • As a point of fact, Word of God has it that the timeframe is intentionally ambiguous, but likely on the order of 10 years. (It also confirms that the original plan was for thousands - although they only used a bookshelf at the bed & breakfast, not a library - and the studio wanted two weeks.)
    • This isn't that far out, actually - considering that he learns, from scratch, how to make ice sculptures with a chainsaw, speak fluent French (if not more tongues) and play the piano.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Harold Ramis has pointed out that people tell him this film is an obvious allegory for (insert religion of choice here) where Phil breaks the loop after following said religion's key principles.
    • Though the nature of the reincarnation loop itself and the fact that his goal is to escape it fits Buddhism better than any other religion.
    • Numerous professional works have also analyzed from a perspective of nihilism and/or existentialism.
  • Ho Yay: Played with to HILARIOUS effect with Phil and Ned at one point.
    Phil: I don't know where you're headed... but can you call in sick?
    • Based on Phil's expressions, it is evident that he was looking for a way to get rid of Ned. And it worked.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Values Dissonance: As a part of his perfect run towards the end of the film, Phil walks into a restaurant, performs the Heimlich Maneuver on the mayor, saving his life, then turns around and lights a woman's cigarette for her. Public opinion of smoking has come a long way in 20 years.
  • Vindicated by History: It did okay at the box office and the critics of the time liked it well enough. Within 10 years it would come to be widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: After the film's debut, the director was called several times by various religious groups, all claiming he was secretly one of them.note