Clever and cute – This comedy from screenwriter Robbie Fox and director Thomas Shlamme, starring Mike Myers and Nancy Travis, is funny without going over-the-top or crippling itself with forced character chemistries and abrupt scene transitions like a lot of other 90’s comedies.
Charlie Mackenzie (Myers) has a commitment-phobia that has eventually ruined all of his relationships. He reminisces about these women through beat poetry at a coffee shop. This is his routine. Until he meets Harriet Michaels (Travis), a butcher, when he stops in to buy haggis one day. Everything is sweet as punch, until Charlie catches a glimpse of an article in the Weekly World News (which his mother refers to as “the paper”) about Mrs. X, a black widow who marries men around the country and murders them on their honeymoon. He finds similarities in the names, places and details of the victims of Mrs. X and the men in Harriet’s past. Of course, he fears this must mean that he is next, but his best pal Tony (Anthony LaPaglia) tells him he’s just letting his phobia scare him away as usual. So, who’s right?
One of my favorite things about this movie, aside from its enjoyable simplicity, is the way it captured the time. Having been released in 1993, the epitome of the 90’s coffee shop, flannel and jeans, clean grunge (as opposed to dirty grunge) that we all remember from mall trips and Snapple commercials, is so successfully captured. In the same vein, it has a great soundtrack, including Myers’ fun beat poetry from the film and a cover of “There She Goes” by the Boo Radley’s (my favorite take on this song, by the way).
There are a few notable cameos. Myers also plays the role of Charlie’s Scottish father, Stuart, who is very reminiscent of Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies. Also, the Alcatraz tour guide, played by Phil Harman, is named John Johnson, “but everyone here calls me ‘Vicky'”. A small engine pilot is played by Steven Wright as well. All are great, especially Hartman (as usual).
All of that said, I’m a huge fan of this movie. It’s funny and quotable (like most Myers films) and has some snippets, like the Fat Bastard predecessor, that you can recognize budding and see developed in later Myers movies. In the box office rush between Wayne’s World, Austin Powers and Shrek, this is a significant piece of the Mike Myers puzzle that everyone should see. I guarantee you’ll laugh.