It’s 1993, and there’s a film out about a man stuck in a day that repeats itself over and over. He remembers everything, but for everyone else, it’s just another normal day.
Groundhog Day I hear you say? Yep, but guess again - 12:01 also fits the bill perfectly. This is a rather obscure TV movie from the same year that claims to be the originator of the idea. Based on a short story, then made into an Oscar nominated short film, then made into this, it’s easy to see why the producers considered a law suit claiming plagiarism.
The film starts with an interesting premise, a woman/love-interest gets shot on the day that repeats itself, and the protagonist must keep trying to stop it from happening. As the day loops round he uncovers dodgy dealings in the lab he works at, as well as the cause of the time upset.
It was enough to keep me interested, but the film just isn’t as well put together as its counterpart. Bill Murray gets the girl by being a changed man, here they wind up together because he remembers stuff about her. It’s almost as if the Groundhog Day people did steal this, but fixed any problems with it before re-writing it.
One major issue for me was that fact that there is an explanation for the predicament. This kills any sense of urgency, since we know the solution to the problem. By it’s very nature it cannot get worse. The protagonist says he’s sick and tired of it, but I don’t see why. He’s only been stuck for six days. That means he’s only been in love for six days. What’s the rush? Why not have some fun?
12:01 is far from awful, but it resides very much in the TV movie camp. The dialogue is good, as is the premise, but the execution is a little rushed and careless. It feels like no one watched it before putting it on air; a few tweaks here and there would have made a much better film. Stick to Groundhog Day.