So I Married an Axe Murderer

Movie Information

Walk-In Theater presents So I Married an Axe Murderer at dusk on Friday, June 8, in the parking lot behind the Bledsoe Building in West Asheville. Admission is free. Please leave pets and alcohol at home. Sponsored by Orbit DVD and the merchants of the Bledsoe Building. Info: 251-1337.
Genre: Comedy Thriller
Director: Thomas Schlamme
Starring: Mike Myers, Nancy Travis, Anthony LaPaglia, Amanda Plummer, Brenda Fricker
Rated: PG-13

In between the two Wayne’s World pictures and a few years before Mike Myers hit stardom pay dirt as Austin Powers, there was this unassuming little opus called So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993). It’s not really a great movie. It’s basically an old-fashioned thrill comedy that attempts to turn Myers into a kind of Bob Hope-light, leading-man comic. And on that level, there’s not much to recommend it. The storyline—with Myers as performance poet Charlie Mackenzie whose new girlfriend, Harriet (Nancy Travis), is looking more like a serial killer with a trail of dead husbands—is never more than serviceable. Sometimes it’s not even this (we know Harriet isn’t the killer and there’s only one character left who could be). While Myers is likeable enough as Charlie, he seems unduly restrained, registering mostly as the single point of normalcy in a world comprised of his bizarre family and his none too bright police-detective buddy (Anthony LaPaglia). In fact, he’s largely reduced to playing straight man for his mother (Brenda Fricker) and LaPaglia. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Fricker is especially good as Mrs. Mackenzie, a fad-diet obsessed, oversexed (she slips LaPaglia the tongue when she kisses him goodbye) devotee of the Weekly World News (she calls it “the paper”). And LaPaglia boasts a weird charm, though he gets his best moments in encounters with an unbilled Alan Arkin as his police captain.

What’s wrong with this is that it doesn’t really showcase Myers. But another side of the film—Myers playing his own father, Stuart Mackenzie—is something else again. Time—and constant exposure to Myers’s Scottish schtick as Fat Bastard in the Austin Powers movies and as Shrek—may have dimmed the freshness of the character a little, but Myers’ outrageous Scot is still a delight. Whether he’s raving about the size of his younger son’s head (“It’s a veritable planetoid. It’s got its own weather system!”) or his belief that Col. Sanders puts a secret ingredient in his chicken that makes you crave it every two weeks, he’s a great character. The problem is there’s not enough of him. Overall, the film works in bits and pieces and it’s hard to care about the plot very much, but it’s all so lovably goofy—and the alternative rock soundtrack is still catchy—that it’s hard to resist, even if we now know there were better things in store for Myers.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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