I Saw a Film!
Between Wayne’s World and Austin Powers, Myers dropped this little Hitchcockian spoof that included some of his favorite Scottish jokes (if it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!), a few of his best Dad larks and a touch of very silly beatnik / jazz poetry (in my mind he wore a beret, but actually doesn’t in the film). I had not noticed before that the film opens with a camera pan onto a road sign reading Jack Kerouac street (or road maybe).
Unfortunately for me, I can only take so many of Myers’s cute takes. His winking, cheek-puffing, eye-rolling, shoulder-hiking, snickering worked fine for teenager Wayne in Wayne’s World, where we’re not supposed to be thinking of him as a full-grown adult man. Here, however, this cuteness act leaks out all over the place, splooging up the fill time and ends up a bit like rubber-faced, clown Jim Varney who basically only had one character to apply to all situations (albeit one the kiddos adored). Stealing the show here is Alan Arkin (always mesmerizing) as a police captain working on curbing his wonderful mothering manner and trying to sound more like a frustrated, over-worked 70’s TV official (specifically Starsky and Hutch’s boss), practicing his ethnic slurs and table-pounding. It was the only part of the film that made me smile.
So the story in a nutshell is that Myers’s mother keeps sticking terrible Weekly World News type tabloid stories in front of him about unusual murderers. At this point Myers has already been revealed to be a somewhat neurotic boyfriend, having dumped a good series of perfectly fine ladies for apparently bonkers reasons. However, now he’s got a butcher lady (he’s a butcher’s son so can fit right in helping out with meats-and more cutesy Myers gags (but oof they’re gross!)), and with his head full of these murder tales begins to suspect her of these frightful crimes. The central gag is having the pretty lady covered in blood and wielding a cleaver as part of her job. She does not help matters much by dreamily talking about killing him while in bed! Not recommended (save that crap for after you’ve been married a bit)! His girlfriend has a very cool apartment, but doesn’t mention her roommate, at all. Leaving Myers to make a fool himself barging in on her shower.
And so it goes, Nancy Travis plays the girlfriend/suspect and I’ve not seen her in anything else. I missed the traveling pants film . . . but by the end we’re watching Myers try to survive hanging on to a rooftop while an axe is swung at him and he, well, you know, does Jim Varney takes. As one does I suppose.
I’m not picking on Myers here, I just think this vehicle was wrong for his particular talents, Shrek, now that’s where he shines. On the other hand I’m hard on comedies. I’ve never tried to write a comedy and I’m sure when you’ve got a team of folks all putting in their silliest gags it’s not hard to overburden and then flounder a good premise. I was thinking of comparing this film to High Anxiety, but while I love old Mel Brookes I don’t know that it’s a fair comparison. This is a Myers vehicle, a chance for him to flesh out a few of his Saturday Night Live routines (why not Dieter from Sprockets?) and is at least as good as Night At the Roxbury, as far as weak SNL loaded films go. But it definitely feels like a bunch of mismatched socks in the dryer, running back to it from the vantage point of our familiarity with his Austin Powers romps (which also, admittedly get cluttered later).
This is running free on Hulu (usa) and has just a few memorable lines, especially of him playing the father character and teasing the boy with the big head. Head!