Film review: So I Married an Axe Murderer

Published: Wednesday, May 12 2004 8:06 a.m. MDT

There's a brief but hilarious bit during the wedding scene in "So I Married an Axe Murderer," as Mike Myers, under heavy makeup and wearing a kilt, breaks into the song "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy," with bagpipe accompaniment.

Unfortunately, that laugh-out-loud moment is an exception in this misconceived misfire, in which Myers plays two roles.

Myers, who hit the big time with "Wayne's World" last year and who is still a regular on TV's "Saturday Night Live" stumbles big time here, as a beat poet named Charlie Mackenzie, who reads his works, such as "This Poem Sucks," at a San Francisco coffee house that seems to have become stuck in a '50s time warp.

Charlie is a nice guy — with a wacky sense of humor (not necessarily a compliment in a film like this) — but he has never been able to commit to a girlfriend, no matter how much he cared.

Then Charlie meets Harriet (Nancy Travis, of the "Three Men and a Baby" films and "The Vanishing"), who runs her own butcher shop downtown, apparently without any employees.

They hit it off and, of course, have sex on their first date. As they get more serious, Charlie realizes he's going to have to commit, though he'd rather break off the relationship — especially when he begins to come across evidence that points to Harriet as possibly being a serial killer who has been bumping off husbands across the country.

Anthony LaPaglia, an undercover cop who is Charlie's best friend, helps gather the evidence. And it is Charlie's mother (Brenda Fricker, Oscar-winner for "My Left Foot") who sets the suspicions in motion, when she reads the serial killer story in a tabloid.

Myers' other role is as his own father, Stuart Mackenzie, a Scotsman with a thick accent and a mean-spirited nature, given to insults and crude behavior. And while many of the gags here fall flat, those involving Stuart are particularly unfunny, when they are not downright obnoxious or offensive.

Travis comes off best, with an enchanting screen presence. But even she looks ill at ease in some scenes, especially as the film winds down. Unbilled Alan Arkin also has some amusing moments, as a police captain who is just too nice. But other cameos, ranging from Steven Wright to Charles Grodin, go nowhere. (And is it really so funny to have a man named "Vicki" that we later have to have a woman named "Ralph"?)

It's not a bad idea to do a gender-switch spoof of Hitchcock's "Suspicion," but as it is — shaped as an obvious vehicle for the smug Myers, whose condescending comic style wears thin rather quickly — it becomes merely a clothesline on which to hang worn-out, off-the-wall skits. (And does he really have to do his "Hello!" bit three times?)

"So I Married an Axe Murderer" is rated PG-13 for violence, sex, nudity, profanity and vulgar sexual remarks.