This acclaimed British comedy centers on the intermittent romance between a charming (if slightly bumbling) Englishman and a beautiful American woman, who seem to always run into each other at weddings. Indeed, it is at the first of the title's four weddings that Charles (Hugh Grant) and Carrie (Andie McDowell) meet, enjoying a brief but fleeting connection. The spark is rekindled several months later, when they unexpectedly meet at another wedding. Unfortunately, however, Carrie has become engaged to another, a fact that complicates matters for them both. The story may seem simple, but the film is elevated by screenwriter Richard Curtis' ear for witty dialogue and a colorful supporting cast. Director Mike Newell's sympathetic attention to character keeps the proceedings believable, and prevents the film's more serious moments from seeming mawkish. These elements, along with Grant's star-making performance as Charles, helped the film achieve unexpected international success, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.
Bill Murray plays Phil, a TV weatherman working for a local station in Pennsylvania but convinced that national news stardom is in his grasp. Phil displays a charm and wit on camera that evaporates the moment the red light goes off; he is bitter, appallingly self-centered, and treats his co-workers with contempt, especially his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliot). On February 2, 1992, Phil, Rita, and Larry are sent on an assignment that Phil especially loathes: the annual Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, PA, where the citizens await the appearance of Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who will supposedly determine the length of winter by his ability to see his own shadow. Phil is eager to beat a hasty retreat, but when a freak snowstorm strands him in Punxsutawney, he wakes up the next morning with the strangest sense of déjà vu: he seems to be living the same day over again. The next morning it happens again, and then again.
US jazz bassist. Also trained as a classical pianist. A onetime member of Ornette Coleman's Prime Time Band, and among the generation of bassists strongly influenced by the Stanley Clarke/Jaco Pastorius school, which emphasizes playing the electric bass like a lead guitar rather than a rhythm instrument. MacDowell is capable of booming, rapid-fire licks, flickering riffs, and sizzling rhythms. As a leader, his albums have been erratic, due mainly to compositional defects, though occasional songs reflect his sizable playing prowess.