Mike Myers is a creator of characters. When his character works, we gladly put up with the shameless mugging, the lightweight jokes and the sorta kinda clever puns. Regardless of how funny you find each joke, as a collective they usually end up adding up to something – and whatever you think of Myers the comedian, you can’t argue that he tries harder to entertain than Ferrell and Sandler combined.
Wayne and Garth worked for 90s teens. Austin Powers appealed to a broader audience. It worked too. As did the many oddball characters like Fat Bastard and Dr Evil. All the way to GoldMember, there, he kind of lost us in a hail of double entendres and silly references.
It seemed at that time that Myers had worn out his entire “I’m saying something that could be serious but of course I’m only joking. Aren’t I so very crazy in an entirely non threatening way?”
So I married an Axe Murderer arrived between the Wayne’s World films, and showed Myers trying to branch out. Of course since then he pruned back everything and his only notable films have seem him as either a throwback spy or a big green animated ogre…
Charlie (Myers) is affable, charming and so very very nice. Despite his all-round great guy-ness he can’t retain a girlfriend. His best friend Tony (Anthony Lapaglia) thinks it’s because he is in search of perfection. His profane, brash and kooky (but so very loving) parents think it is because he is afraid of commitment. I personally think it has much to do with his tendency to yell “HELL-LLLOWWW!!” upon encountering something even mildly surprising. Surely that must get old fast?
Then Charlie and Harriet’s (Nancy Travis) eyes meet over a severed pig’s head – she is a butcher after all – and after a frankly silly courtship they find themselves very much in love. Harriet is kooky too. And secretive, cryptic, enigmatic and totally disarming. She is to Charlie what an average repetitive joke is to Mike Myers. He simply can’t say no.
Charlie puts up with her quirks and foibles. He puts up with her roommate Rose (Amanda Plummer). He puts up with her stand-offishness when he asks direct questions. On the other hand she puts up with his smoking and his love of beat poetry, so I’d put them about even.
When Tony, who’s a cop, tells Charlie of the similarities between Harriet’s backstory and the movements of a notorious serial killer who murders her husbands on honeymoon, they start to wonder if she is merely eclectic and unpredictable, or a callous spouse-slasher.
From here the film can only go two or three ways. It goes one of them, but it isn’t really worth the journey to anywhere. This is Myers’ B material, the offcuts, throwaways and asides that didn’t work in Wayne’s World. The cheery ‘isn’t this just a breath of fresh air?’ stuff that served as comedy before he realized that it was the characters that were the key. Of course his next films introduced Austin Powers, and we all know where that went; drunken middle aged men and women shouting ‘Beee-have’ obnoxiously at parties at the mere suggestion of salaciousness.
I’d almost call this the cousin of Cable Guy, a film that misses the mark by so much it almost ends up in a genre that was entirely unintended, but for all its faults So I Married An Axe Murderer is definitely a comedy – just quite an unfunny one.
There are many things that haven’t dated well here, the haircuts, the constant smoking (!) and the unbelievably 90s soundtrack, but the biggest reason we don’t talk about this film much is that despite an incredibly high joke-attempt-per minute ratio, it just isn’t funny.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. When Mike Myers and his endless stream of jokes isn’t funny, he comes across as the bad Mike Myers’ impressionist at the party, only for 90 painful minutes.