'Axe Murderer' finds poet lovestruck, reviewer dumbstruck

July 30, 1993|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,Film Critic

So I murdered "So I Married an Axe Murderer."

I didn't mean to. My daughter begged me to go easy. But I couldn't help it. Something came into my veins and, pulsing with power, I slammed my critic's bludgeon into its frail skull over and over. My nickname isn't "Raskolnikov" for nothing.

It seemed so helpless. Mike Myers plays a San Francisco poet -- among the movie's goofier notions, it seems to think being a poet is a normal bourgeois job -- who is perennially unlucky in love. He always finds fault with his partners. Excuse me? He finds fault? This guy is 135 pounds of hairless Vienna cocktail sausage without a job, with bad skin, ugly hair, a crummy car and with two grotesque parents and . . . he finds fault? So that made me want to kill it. But that wasn't why I did it, Inspector.

He meets Nancy Travis, the ultimate sorority girl -- blond, perky, unbelievably pretty and bright and she works as . . . a butcher and she lives in one of those how-do-they-afford-that-apartment? apartments with her strange sister who has no other role in the movie except to be the sister and yet is played by a big actess, Amanda Plummer. Hmmmm. Which of these two do you think is the ax murderer? But anyway, that's not why I killed it, although it's close.

After a few mild ups and down, the two -- the poet and the butcher -- get married and then the poet's pal the cop (poets and cops always hang out together!) finds out that the butcher probably is the mysterious Madame X, who keeps murdering her husbands and disappearing. So the gist of the movie is to let Mike Myers do a big paranoia deal, bugging out his eyes and acting desperate. Reportedly, he modeled the performance on the look on director Thomas Schlamme's face when he read the script. This leads to a big final chase sequence set at a Sonoma Valley inn where Myers keeps running from the woman with the ax. There's a lot of oops-I-hurt-my-groin humor here, but that's not why I did it.

No, I had a good reason for my crime.

Myers seems a little preening in this, and he loves being a movie star, but now and then the movie spurts to some genuine charm. A surprise appearance by Alan Arkin as a police captain who hasn't been to enough movies and doesn't know how a police captain in the movies is suppose to act is very funny, almost

enough to prevent me from murdering "So I Married an Axe Murderer."

But then there's Anthony LaPaglia as an undercover cop buddy of Myers. Now, why are these two friends. They have nothing in common. They don't have much chemistry. LaPaglia's contribution to the plot is marginal.

But that's not what did it. What did it was . . . that "e" on Ax. It's ax! AX! The dictionary even says so! Arghhhhhhhhh!!!! Stop me before I kill again!

"So I Married an Axe Murderer"

Starring Mike Myers and Nancy Travis

Directed by Thomas Schlamme

Released by TriStar

Rated PG-13

... **

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