The Butcher’s Wife (1991)

In retrospect, I realize I made the horrible mistake of confusing this flick for Mike Myer’s So I Married an Axe Murderer. Instead of a black comedy (and thriller?) about a guy unwittingly marrying a serial killer, I ended up with this delightfully gauche 24 years old box office and critical bomb starring Demi Moore, who is here sporting a really odd looking bleached hair, which to be fair might just be because I’m so used to her as a brunette, and equipped with a rather cheesy and bad accent that sounds like a weird mix of southern and east coast accents, and it’s exactly as jarring as you would expect it to be. Just eff my life.

So, yeah. That happened, and because I have that masochistic need to finish whatever I start, here we are. From what I can decypher, The Butcher’s Wife is suppose to be a charming romantic comedy with an additional magical realism angle as the central spellbinding hook that’s meant to bedazzle you off your feet to your tushy while making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but in truth there isn’t much of any comedy to be found here and you’re more likely to jump out of a window than find yourself be enamored by the story in this unfortunate memento from the early  90s. The romance is atrociously bad. It is entirely stale and unimaginative, and feels largely shallow and empty thanks to the constant harping on about how it’s all tied to fate and destiny, blah blah blah. The whole central, almost screwball comediesque love quintet machination here is not only unnecessarily but also contrived and almost intellectually insulting.

And talking of stupid, Demi’s plot device clairvoyance gimmick only makes the story more unbearable instead of mystically charming. All the piling up plot contrivances that largely spin off her visions amount to a tedious string of fated coincidences that by the end have had you roll your eyes till they bled. For you see, it’s all part of a grand celestial plan in this story. Things kick off with Demi Moore’s character hastily marrying a guy she just met for the first time at the beach, due to the signs telling her that she was about to meet her soul mate. We then move to New York where the newlywed Demi meets a metropolitan shrink Jeff Daniels, and after it’s established they get along with each other as much as oil and water mix, it hilariously turns out that he’s Demi’s actual real soul mate. Oh movie, how can you be so revoltingly predictable and wacky! So rather than saving us all from excruciating hour and a half or however long this thing runs, Demi and Jeff don’t immediately embrace each other and decide elope. In fact, things get more complicated as Jeff’s also already in a relationship, so before we can have Demi and Jeff abandon their significant others and ride to the sunset, Demi needs to first accidentally orchestrate this really ridiculous musical chairs romance matchmaking game with half a dozen other people from the neighborhood. This involves Demi, amongst other things, unwittingly  hooking her husband up with another woman by making the lady buy a flashy dress that encourages her to sing at a bar where Demi’s husband is a regular and is drowning his sorrows away because his Las Vegas style fastland  marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There’s also Jeff’s current girlfriend, who via some really cryptic advice, Demi more or less seems to turn into a lesbian over night, as she in a surprise twist suddenly is shown to hook up with Jeff’s best female friend… There’s also superfluous stuff about a misunderstood semi-delinquent falling for Demi and subsequently finding a lucrative career in the art world due to this love that was not to be, but now I’m getting a migraine just thinking about this stuff. It’s all too complex for its own good and inherently kitsch atop of the sheer stupidity of the storylines.

I know I’m being perhaps overtly harsh here, as under the right hands this might have actually been bearable, even decent if the stars had lined up right, but here it’s just a complete disaster, from start to finish. Nothing really clicks, it’s never funny, at least like it was intended to be, it’s not romantic… I dislike these type of ‘dictated by fate from scene one onwards’ love stories at the best of times and when Demi does what is probably the worst acting gig I’ve seen by her since, I dunno, Charlie’s Angels 2… I bet this is as close as you can get experiencing what a root canal feels like, mentally. It’s no wonder this movie got nominated for the Razzies, albeit just for Demi’s performance. I think this movie was actually snubbed by not getting more nominations than what it did. The only sole redeeming factor about the entire movie is Mary Steenburgen singing, at least I think it’s by her since it didn’t seem to be dubbed, a very nice rendition of “In the Dark” blues song by Bessie Smith, the Empress of the Blues. Otherwise it’s embarrassingly bad. My heart retroactively goes out to all the men who had to live through this in 1991 when their girlfriend or wife dragged them to see it.

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