So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

After the whole the Butcher’s Wife debacle, I felt it was necessary to make amends and smooth things over with my brain, and since I don’t really care for boxes of chocolates nor pretty bouquets of flowers, the only thing left to do was to watch the correct movie, in an attempt to balance the scales and wipe the unfortunate experience of bleached Demi Moore’s visage out of my mind. So here we are, Mike Myers’ 1993 flop, So I married an Axe Murderer.

One thing I realizes right off the bat was that I’m not entirely sure how I was aware of this movie in the first place. As far as I can figure it out, I might have  either seen a VHS of this as a kid somewhere or maybe it simply had come out of the TV and I saw a glimpse of it or something, but in any case I didn’t really have a very good idea what kind of a movie this was going to be. It was somewhere in the ballpark of somebody dating someone who might or might not be a serial killer and it was for the most part played for laughs and it was made in the 90s, etc.

But anyway. Now having seen the movie, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. It’s not really a letdown as I kinda enjoyed it over all, certainly more than the Butcher’s Wife, but it is a bit inconsistent at places, to which I’ll come back and elaborate a little bit later. But first, let’s look at the premise. This is very much a Mike Myers vehicle, and I really like the basic idea around which the story is wrapped around. Myers plays Charlie, a Bay area beat poet whose fear of commitment is so bad that it borders paranoia. The idea is that once the relationship starts to get serious, he will find some reason, no matter how absurd or small complaint, as an excuse to break the relationship up.

So naturally, in the story Charlie finds himself falling in love with Harriet, a woman of his dreams who we very quickly are led to believe might in fact be an infamous axe murderer who kills her husband on their wedding night. That’s a pretty good gimmick for a movie, not to mention oddly appealing and unusual angle for a romantic comedy / thriller. The movie even manages to come up with a clever reason as to why Charlie doesn’t just end the relationship immediately when his suspicions arise, like he has done in the past, and instead decides to marry Harriet. See, he in fact he does break it up with Harriet, but then due to a convenient coincidence someone happens to confess to the the murder of the latest axe murder, clearing Harrier of any doubt. It’s not soon after that Charlie is able to win Harriet back, and in order to get over his fear commitment, he decides to finally go all out, win his fear and marries Harriet. But it just so happens, unbeknownst to Charlie ,that the confession turned out to be a false one, meaning Charlie’s life might in fact still be in danger. Cue wacky hijinks when on his honeymoon, Charlie receives a call from his friend that informs him of this fact.

Where the movie kinda falls on a sour note is that it is a bit too predictable. There’s also is a bit too much emphasis put on wacky comedy at times. While I get that you would want SNL star like Myers to do his famous comedy as much as possible, especially when his previous movie Wayne’s World was such a hit, but it felt forced for his character to act so overtly goofy, when it doesn’t really seem to fit that well to his character as a beat poet. There’s being a bit silly when you’re trying to charm a girl, and then there’s completely absurd, unsanctioned cartoon buffoonery, which is what happens when Charlie offers to lend a hand at Harriet’s butcher shop for a day, when he starts to try and win her heart. Now, I wouldn’t mind if he did one or two silly things to break the ice while schmoozing with Harriet during their workday, but having an entire montage of goofiness where Charlie is doing increasingly wacky things is a bit much.  When he’s going as far as making customers run out of the store in horror when he pulls pranks like making it seem he’s chopped off his own hand, giving a lump of the meat massages and talking to it, etc. it comes off as trying too hard to be funny. It’s a bit much. Toning it down a little would have been better, it wouldn’t come off so jarringly weird.

Initially I was perplexed by the choice to make Charlie a beat poet, since it seemed like a really unusual choice for an occupation when it didn’t really seem to amount of much aside from being the basis for the location of the place Charlie and Harriet go to spend their honeymoon (it’s beat poet themed) and the way Charlie wins Harriet back after dumping her (he recites a beat poem to her that woos her back), but ultimately I did find myself liking it more as the movie went on. I especially liked all the scenes where he was on stage performing, reading his women themed poems while accompanied by a jazz band, Myer’s delivery in these scenes mixed with the grovy jazz music was great. The tone, the beat, the timing, all was just perfect.

Another choice that was odd was Myers playing a double role in the movie as he is both the lead character Charlie, and Charlie’s father. I suppose it let him flex some acting muscles or whatever. I didn’t mind the gimmick itself as much as I found it to be distracting because you see, Charlie is only a first generation American, with his family roots coming from… Scotland. So what you get is Myers basically doing this hilariously over-exaggerated version of a Scotsman, naturally with a comically heavy accent to go along with it, which lead to me getting constant Austin Powers flashbacks whenever the dad was talking. I was half-expecting every other line from the dad to be “Get in muh belly!” basically. You can imagine just how distracting it was when you’re imagining Fat Bastard every time the father was on screen talking.

It’s not that hard to see why this flopped at the box office. It’s a bit too off the kilter and though as much as I enjoyed watching it, it doesn’t leave you with a very satisfied mood once it’s over. You also can’t help but to feel the whole ‘paranoid about commitment’ thing is a bit wasted here, like it could have been utilized better. While the whole axe murderess angle is funny,  you probably would have ended up with a better movie if you had played with more the idea that it was all Charlie’s own insecurities making him paranoid rather than the threat being quite real.

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