So I Married an Axe Murderer

So I Married an Axe Murderer
Director: Thomas Schlamme
Screenplay: Robbie Fox
Stars: Mike Myers (Charlie Mackenzie / Stuart Mackenzie), Nancy Travis (Harriet Michaels), Anthony LaPaglia (Tony Giardino), Amanda Plummer (Rose Michaels), Brenda Fricker (May Mackenzie), Matt Doherty (Willie Mackenzie), Charles Grodin (Commandeered Driver), Phil Hartman (John “Vicky” Johnson), Debi Mazar (Susan), Steven Wright (Pilot)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Year of Release: 1993
Country: U.S.
So I Married an Axe Murderer
So I Married an Axe MurdererMore so than other actors who have graduated from Saturday Night Live to a successful leading-man movie career, Mike Myers needs a true character to play--someone who is eccentric, outlandish, or otherwise unique. There is a reason that Myers’ most successful outings on the big screen have capitalized on his affinity for larger-than-life character traits and quirks, whether it be Wayne Campbell’s slack-eyed insouciance or Dr. Evil’s misplaced megalomania. It is also not surprising that Myers’ one good dramatic turn was in 1998’s 54 (an otherwise lousy movie), in which he captured the unique mannerisms and movements of hedonistic club impresario Steve Rubell.

Myers is at his worst when he tries to play “a regular guy,” which is precisely what he does for most of So I Married an Axe Murderer. His character is Charlie Mackenzie, an everyday guy living in San Francisco whose only defining characteristic, aside from performing really bad beat poetry, is his fear of commitment (he always breaks off his relationships with women because of ridiculous, paranoid fears like her being involved in the mafia). Yet, Myers has a hard time containing himself, so Charlie ends up doing and saying oddball things not because the character would, but because Myers needs to do something. Because Axe Murderer was released between the two Wayne’s World movies, most of Charlie’s quirks have a direct link to Wayne Campbell, especially when he belts out “Hello!” after a joke (there are a few preludes to Dr. Evil, as well).

However, Myers does get to cut loose during several scenes that feature Charlie’s father, Stuart Mackenzie, whom he also plays. Transformed with age make-up, thick glasses, and a slightly drunken sneer, Myers plays Stuart as an obnoxious, but oddly likable and instantly memorable character. Exceedingly proud of his Scottish heritage, Stuart is a scene-stealing caricature of national pride and blue-collar contentment, that is, when he’s not randomly mocking Charlie’s younger brother for the size of his “enormous heed” (the sheer randomness of Stuart’s cranial taunting is enough to make the movie worth watching).

Charlie’s mother, May (Brenda Fricker), contents herself with The Weekly World News, which she amusingly refers to as “the paper” because she insists that the stories are real. It is in “the paper” that Charlie first reads of a mysterious woman known only as “Mrs. X,” who marries men and then kills them on their honeymoon, which plants the seed of doubt for his latest girlfriend, Harriet Michaels (Nancy Travis). Although Harriet seems to be the real deal (beautiful, funny, self-reliant, etc.), there are a few things about her that don’t quite sit right. Her job as a butcher would just be odd except, if she is a killer, it means she’s exceedingly proficient with a knife. Then there’s her odd sister, Rose (Amanda Plummer), who seems to show up at inappropriate times for the simple sake of acting weird. And, of course, there are the various things in her apartment that conveniently link her to the locations where Mrs. X offed her hubbies.

In its broad parameters, then, So I Married an Axe Murderer is a satire of male commitment phobias and the extent to which men will demonize their exes as a way to mask their own inability to settle down, and in this regard it works fairly well. However, director Thomas Schlamme, whose primary work has been directing sitcoms and stand-up comedy concerts, seems more interested in trying to turn the film into a parody of horror-thrillers and littering the proceedings with attention-grabbing cameos that have no real narrative purpose other than to draw your attention to the actor (It’s Phil Hartman as an amusingly serious Alcatraz guide! It’s Steven Wright as an incompetent pilot!) From any angle, Axe Murderer is an odd movie. It has its amusing moments and one or two really good gags, but overall it can’t quite shake its slightly off-kilter sense of weirdness, which is perhaps why Myers had such a hard time just trying to be normal.

So I Married an Axe Murderer Special Edition Blu-Ray

Aspect Ratio1.85:1
  • English Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 Surround
  • French Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 Surround
  • Portuguese Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • SubtitlesEnglish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Bahasa
    DistributorSony Pictures Home Entertainment
    Release DateJune 17, 2008

    Given its rather pedestrian cinematic style, you probably won’t want to use So I Married an Axe Murderer to show off your new Blu-Ray player to your friends. Nevertheless, this disc features a solid, full 1080p transfer, which makes the film looks significantly better than I’ve ever seen it, especially when compared to the 1999 DVD. Colors are strong, skin tones looks warm and natural, and detail is quite good, although the overall image still has a slightly soft quality that is most likely the inherent look of the image. The darker scenes, most notably during the film’s climax, benefit the most from the better detail and richer blacks. The English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround soundtrack is pretty good, with some effective use of the surround channels during the film’s “thriller” moments, especially during the big storm at the end.
    Hmmm … either there has been some kind of mistake in the labeling of So I Married an Axe Murderer or the phrase “Special Edition” has lost all meaning since there isn’t a single supplement to be found. (And, no, I do not consider trailers for other movies as “supplements”; that is called “marketing.”)

    Copyright ©2008 James Kendrick

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    All images copyright © Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

    Overall Rating: (2)

    James Kendrick

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