Saturday, 9 February 2013

So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993)

AKA the Mike Myers movie that many people forget about because he's not being Wayne or Austin Powers or Shrek.

So I Married An Axe Murderer seemed to come and go without much fuss back in 1993. I'm not sure if it was considered a flop at the time, but it certainly didn't set the box office alight. That's a shame because this is a very enjoyable comedy with some great characters, a decent cast and a constant supply of decent chuckles.

Myers stars as Charlie Mackenzie, a man obviously afraid of commitment. His friend, Tony (Anthony LaPaglia), can testify to this and tries to get Charlie to see the error of his ways, to no avail. Charlie comes up with all kinds of reasons to explain why his ex-girlfriends became ex-girlfriends (one was a kleptomaniac, one smelled of soup). Circumstances change for the better when he meets Harriet (Nancy Travis). As the relationship blossoms, Charlie tries to put his usual behaviour behind him, but when he reads up about a killer named "Mrs. X", a murderous bride who has been killing her husbands on their honeymoon, he starts to wonder if the lady he loves might not have a very dark and dangerous side. And as he tries to dispel his worries, more and more circumstantial evidence starts piling up.

Well, well, well, I did not realise the negativity surrounding this movie until researching how it was received before writing this review. This seems to be a mixture of people wanting to take Myers down a peg or two after the huge success of Wayne's World and the star also starting to slip into the bad habits that would develop in later years (his penchant for playing multiple characters, in particular, also known nowadays as "doing a Murphy"). Writer Robbie Fox was understandably a bit miffed when it was claimed that the script was changed so much that he should consider a "story by" and co-screenplay credit. Mind you, Neil Mullarkey ended up getting no credit, despite working on a lot of the content. Director Thomas Schlamme found the shoot difficult, but also praised Myers for his total commitment (how ironic, considering the theme of the movie).

Whatever the mood behind the scenes, all that matters to viewers is what ended up being caught on camera and I think that So I Married An Axe Murderer is a fine little comedy. The script, by whoever you want to give the credit to, is full of amusing one-liners and great exchanges and Schlamme moves everything along nicely, helped by a typically upbeat selection of pop songs.

The cast have a lot of fun. Myers isn't at his most comfortable playing someone who is so "normal" but he gets to make up for that in the scenes in which he plays his own father, Stuart, a hilariously stereotypical Scotsman who spends a lot of the movie insulting his other son (Matt Doherty) for having an oversized "heid". Brenda Fricker is also very good as May Mackenzie, Charlie's mother who often gets carried away in the company of Anthony LaPaglia. Speaking of LaPaglia, he's just fine, whether he's asking his boss (Alan Arkin) to be more like a movie police captain or whether he's trying to commandeer a vehicle from a reluctant member of the public (Charles Grodin). Nancy Travis is very good in the role of Harriet (she's a lot better here than she was in those Three Men & A Baby/Little Lady movies). The cast also includes Amanda Plummer having a lot of fun and very small roles for Phil Hartman and Debi Mazar, all are great.

I don't expect too many people to wholeheartedly agree with me on this one, but I hope that at least some people enjoy themselves with a film that, in my opinion, was given some unfairly harsh treatment upon its initial release.


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