Charlie McKenzie is a beat poet
living in San Francisco
, after having broken up with yet another girl based on paranoid perception. His policeman friend Tony tries to point out the pattern; that Charlie simply is afraid of commitment and tries to think of, or invent, any reason to break up with someone. Things pick up again when Charlie meets a butcher named Harriet, and becomes infatuated instantly. As the plot continues, Tony realizes that Harriet may be the mysterious "Mrs. X", a Black Widow
who had married and killed multiple husbands. After marrying Harriet, Hilarity Ensues
when both Charlie and Tony try to discover if Charlie is in love with a serial man-killer.
Released in 1993, the movie starred Mike Myers as Charlie, Nancy Travis as Harriet, and Anthony LaPaglia as Tony. It was a box-office disappointment as it earned less than half of the movie budget while on the big screen.
Several well-known personalities made cameo shots, including Steven Wright, Alan Arkin, Charles Grodin, and Phil Hartman.
This film contains examples of:
- Acting for Two: Mike Myers as Charlie and Charlie's dad.
- The Alcatraz: Charlie and Tony do the guided tour of the prison. They always try to get the one lead by Ranger John 'Vicki' Johnson. For good reason.
- Ax-Crazy: Mrs. X
- Benevolent Boss: Tony's superior at the police department, as a parody of Da Chief (see below). In fact, the chief even starts acting like a hardass because Tony wishes that his chief acted more stereotypical... and to hammer this trope home, he proceeds to ask for critique on his performance afterwards.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Harriet's Shrinking Violet sister Rose turns out to be an insane serial killer.
- Black Widow: Mike Meyers parodies the trope — his character believes he is dating the mysterious "Mrs. X." She's not. Turns out her sister was an insane Clingy Jealous Girl who murdered all of the poor girl's previous husbands (she thought they had all just up and left her).
- Cassandra Truth: All those tabloid articles. There really is a Mrs. X out there killing guys.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Charlie's dad. "Oh, I hated the Colonel - with his wee beady eyes, and that smug look on his face."
- Cooldown Hug: "Somebody needs a hug!"
- Cult Classic: A box office failure on release, it's become a favorite due to the high number of memorable cameos and a couple of Memetic Mutation one-liners.
- Da Chief: Parodied - A police detective expresses dissatisfaction that his job is not more like the movies - partly because his boss, far from this trope (see above trope), is a pleasant, amiable and good-natured administrator with an easy-going temper.
- Everything's Louder With Bagpipes: Charlie's wedding party has his dad (also play by Mike Myers) singing "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" accompanied by bagpipes. When the old player drops, dad announces "We have a piper down!"
- Flashed Badge Hijack: Subverted when a cop stops a passing motorist, but can't get him to give up his vehicle. He has to settle for getting a ride from the driver to the crime-in-progress.
- Foot Popping: Charlie, kissing his bride at the altar, dressed in a kilt.
- Friends Rent Control: Charlie appears to be a full-time beat poet (and doesn't apparently work very hard at it), and yet can afford a nice apartment in San Francisco. Probably also applies to Harriet and her sister, who have an ENORMOUS loft in the same city.
- Giftedly Bad: Charlie and his poetry.
- Groin Attack: Inverted when Charlie is struck there by a female opponent. He responds in kind and it's shown to have an effect.
- Love Makes You Evil: The hidden setup as we find out in The Reveal. It is questionable, however, on whether Rose, who is the culprit is actually insane the whole time.
- Lurid Tales of Doom: The entire premise of the film is triggered by a sensational story in the Weekly World News, which turns out to be true.
- Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: This is something of a recurring gag for the main character, and it even foreshadows things that are to come later in the movie.
- Mistaken for Murderer: The premise of the film.
- Precision F-Strike: When an axe thuds into the dresser right in front of Mike Myers and he shouts "What the Fuck?!"
- San Francisco: The main setting for the movie (and a lot of it was filmed there as well).
- Talking in Your Sleep: Charlie is awakened by Harriet shouting "RALPH!" in her sleep.
- Violent Glaswegian: According to Charlie, the Scots have their own form of martial arts called "Fuck-You" which is comprised of "...mostly headbutts, and then kicking the other person when they're on the ground."
- What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Charlie Mackenzie must have a job, right? Some kind of job...other than...occasional poet.
- Yandere: Harriet, who becomes a bit unhinged after winning over Charlie.
- In a subversion, this is because all of her previous husbands abandoned her and she's developed a complex — or so she thinks. Turns out Harriet's sister was an insane Yandere for Harriet. She murdered Harriet's husbands and faked their deaths to keep Harriet to herself and nearly does the same to Charlie near the end.