Genre: Romantic Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.
Release Date: July 30th, 1993 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Thomas Schlamme Actors: Mike Myers, Nancy Travis, Anthony LaPaglia, Amanda Plummer, Brenda Fricker, Matt Doherty, Charles Grodin, Debi Mazar
omedian Mike Myers is best handled in incredibly small doses. In one of his earliest films, “So I Married an Axe Murderer,” many of his later, signature roles peek through his dreary performance, including the personae of Austin Powers and nemesis Dr. Evil. Fat Bastard and even Goldmember also appear to have experimental roots here, particularly as Myers tackles embodying multiple characters at the same time. But what “So I Married an Axe Murderer” desperately lacks is cinematic justifiability. Outrageously funny moments – or anything worthy of a movie – are so conspicuously absent that the whole project merely feels like a “Saturday Night Live” one-note skit drawn out into a feature-length adaptation.
Charlie Mackenzie (Mike Myers) can’t seem to commit himself to any romantic relationship. Even after things seem to look fruitful, he eventually grows scared of marriage or longer-term obligations and finds some insignificant reason to dump his various girlfriends. One smelled like soup; another one was in the mafia (or simply unemployed). But all that changes when Charlie stops by a butcher shop for some haggis for his cantankerous father Stuart (also Mike Myers in plenty of makeup) and meets Harriet Michaels (Nancy Travis), who turns out to be the girl of his dreams.
They immediately click, and before he (or the audience) can count to three, they’re madly in love and spending oodles of time together. But just as he’s finally feeling comfortable with his newfound love, Charlie’s mother shows him an article in the Weekly World News (a paper she reads religiously) about “Mrs. X,” an axe murderer who marries unsuspecting victims and butchers them on their wedding night. Having already taken the lives of three grooms, leaving no trace and with currently unknown whereabouts, Charlie becomes irrationally paranoid about Harriet, who coincidentally has connections to several of the victims. His undue suspicions cause him to break up with Harriet – but only momentarily. When he comes to his senses, he proposes to her to prevent losing her again. But evidence continues to pile up inexplicably against her, leading Charlie to enlist the help of his undercover cop friend Tony (Anthony LaPaglia) to discover whether or not he has indeed married an axe murderer.
The premise is entirely original and has the potential for genuine laughs. Unfortunately, they never come. From the very start of the film, it seems impossible to get a feel for any of the characters or to understand them, largely because the character development is just too quick and brief. Charlie’s job is never completely defined, his falling in love with Harriet is immediate and unlikely, and regular montages pass the time that could have been used to better establish the main characters. And while Myers attempts to evoke a few laughs from solo one-liners, the situations that arise from the premise are not inherently funny. Meanwhile, Harriet’s sister Rose is extremely peculiar, Tony is a reckless cop itching to be like Dirty Harry, and Charlie’s parents constantly bicker – but none of these supporting parts add the necessary humor to a script that struggles for every slight chuckle.
The best bits of the film are actually from cameos and walk-on roles, including Alan Arkin, who plays Tony’s uncommonly nice boss, Michael Richards (“Seinfeld’s” Kramer), and Phil Hartman. But if anything can be interpreted as a testament to the mediocrity of “So I Married An Axe Murderer,” it’s the fact that the 2008 DVD release is dubbed a “Special Edition,” but contains not a single extra feature or even a technical update from previous home video iterations. Truly there is nothing special about the film.
– Mike Massie