Every once in a while, a film you just don't want to see turns out to be a nice little surprise. 'So I Married an Axe Murderer' was just such a movie for me. It's a flick that always looked forgettable, so much so that it's undistinguished legacy didn't seem to rate a cult audience. Now, having finally been forced to watch it for this review (hey, that's why I make the big bucks), I can say that although it's far from a great movie, it's a perfectly cute and charming little concoction.
Back before he became Austin Powers, Mike Myers was just another ex-'SNL' regular struggling to make good on his 'Wayne's World' promise. In 'So I Married an Axe Murderer,' he plays Charlie Mackenzie, a talented poet with some pretty serious commitment issues. He's gone through a series of great girls, dumping each one when he obsesses over a particular perceived character flaw. That will change, however, when he meets a local female butcher named Harriet Michaels (Nancy Travis). She's Charles' ideal mate, and after so many failed attempts, he's determined to make this one work.
Such a set-up is pretty typical romantic comedy fare, but 'So I Married an Axe Murderer' plays these opening scenes rather well. Myers has gone all "zany" in his recent films, but here he has a genuine everyman charm, and we believe his Charles could be both a dreamer and sabotager of love. Although Travis is not my favorite actress, here she brings a fine chemistry to her early scenes with Myers, so for once in a romantic comedy, we want to see the two leads get together (rather than being insufferably neurotic bores, as is usually the case with these flicks).
The "hook" of the film, however, is the fact that Harriet may be a serial killer. In an enjoyably silly twist, it seems that a local female axe murderer is on the loose, and once the news gets to Charles, he again falls into his pattern of obsession. If obvious, it's actually a somewhat wry comment on love -- because the idea of Harriet actually being a killer is ridiculous, we can plainly see the ridiculousness of Charles commitment-phobia. It's not deep, but in its own way, 'So I Married an Axe Murderer' attempts to say something about modern relationships, and how the most trivial things are sometimes the greatest obstacles to finding love.
Directed by Thomas Schlamme, 'So I Married an Axe Murderer' is often shot like a bland TV sitcom. There are also too many attempts to shoehorn in Myers' 'SNL'-like schtick, particularly a few slapsticky moments, or broad jokes that only intrude on the main romantic story. But despite such missteps, there is a cheerful, sweet core to the characters and the romantic scenario that wins out. The supporting cast (including Brenda Fricker, Amanda Plumber, the late Phil Hartman, and an uncredited Alan Arkin) are also aces, and it's fun to try and spot each of the film's all-star extended cameos.
Is 'So I Married an Axe Murderer' a great romantic comedy? No. But it's fun, and it succeeds on the basic level of providing a few laughs and likable characters we want to root for. I don't know if this is the kind of catalog title Sony really needs to be putting out on Blu-ray right now (at least in terms of driving big hardware sales), but against all of my expectations, I actually got a kick out of watching it.
Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, 'So I Married an Axe Murderer' receives a nice high-def debut, at least considering the flatness of the material and its age. This 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (1.85:1) is pleasant and good-looking, if hardly reference-quality.
Typical of most early-'90s titles, the image is on the soft side. Depth never pops, though close-ups are rather detailed and certainly the transfer never looks bad. Colors are flush and clean, but not all torqued-up with computer-enhanced snazziness. The source is in nice shape, with a bit of grain and a slight speckle here or there, but otherwise deep blacks and nicely balanced contrast. Shadow delineation is not terrific, however, with darker scenes often flat. There are no major compression artifacts, though some of the most intense colors can have a hint of noise. 'So I Married an Axe Murderer' is, if nothing else, nice to look at.
Sony offers a new English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround track (48kHz/16-bit) for 'So I Married an Axe Murderer.' It's a nice thought by the studio, but given the film's drab sound design, it doesn't help much.
Don't expect more than a typical '90s comedy soundtrack. Surrounds are meager, with only weakly-delivered discrete effects and thin score bleed. Most of the mix is front heavy. Dynamic range is fine enough, with low bass that's present if undistinguished, and a clear feel to the rest of the frequency spectrum. Dialogue is clean and smoothly balanced in the mix. The only real life the track has is in some bouncy pop songs, which at least have some aural impact. That's about it.
Nope, there is no original supplemental content here at all. Unless you count a promo spot as an extra...
'So I Married an Axe Murderer' is a cute early comedy from Mike Myers, one noteworthy in his oeuvre for its sweetness. It's also a bit bland and dated. This Blu-ray is simply serviceable, with nice video and audio but nary a single extra. This one is a rental for all but diehard Myers fans.