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film review

Jessica Rothe stars in Happy Death Day.Patti Perret/Unive

Groundhog Day starred Bill Murray as a cynical weatherman reliving a Pennsylvania-in-February day on repeat. That movie, a comedy classic, was fresh and fantastic in 1993.

Since then, it's been done to death – first with 2006's Salvage, and now with Happy Death Day, which breathes life into the seen-it-all-before slasher genre by placing the time-loop premise on a college campus, where a jaded co-ed is forced to die a violent death over and over again on her birthday.

The sassy sorority girl is played by Jessica Rothe, the able La La Land actress whose blonde-hair blue-eyed presence recalls a young Britney Spears – oops, I died again. There's a spunky charm to the Scream-meets-Groundhog Day thing, and the film is well-built. The problem is its chipper message.

In Groundhog Day, the theme is middle-aged despair. "What would you do," Murray asks, "if you were stuck in one place and everything was exactly the same and nothing that you did mattered?" Whereas Happy Death Day 's meaning is trite and syrupy: "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." Puh-lease. Gag me with a spoon, or, better yet, stick with me a knife.

The directors of a documentary on the Tragically Hip’s 2016 tour say the band was “extremely generous” during filming. Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier were at the Toronto film fest Wednesday in support of “Long Time Running.”

The Canadian Press

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