Run For Your Wife

"Bad"

Run For Your Wife Review


British farces work on stage, but usually feel agonisingly stupid on screen. And this is a worst-case scenario, as playwright Cooney adapts his classic 1983 farce without even the slightest adjustment for the cinema. Everything is played as broadly as possible, with luridly coloured sets and actors performing to the top balcony rather than cameras that are right in their faces. So even if it's energetic and sometimes amusingly silly, it's painful to sit through.

Everything centres around John Smith (Dyer), a cheeky cabbie who lives two idyllic lives. He lives with his wife Michelle (Van Outen) in South London and has a second wife Stephanie (Harding) north of the river, juggling them with his shift-work. One day he's injured while rescuing a bag lady (Dench) from two thugs, and he ends up in the hospital. When he doesn't come home on time, Michelle calls the South London police and meets a detective (Cartwright). But Stephanie also calls a cop (Le Prevost), and the two officers are about to rumble John's whole set-up. So he asks his chucklehead neighbour (Morrissey) for help.

As a farce, the story is full of possibility for slapstick hilarity and more telling social comedy. But Cooney never taps into any of this, instead creating a hectic movie that never pauses to catch its breath. Dialog is shouted at full pitch, which bulldozes any potential for clever wit. And most of the actors are goaded into giving smirking performances that make the characters deeply unlikeable. Everyone goes on about what a nice guy John is, but Dyer plays him as a panicky liar who cares about nothing but his own skin. And both Van Outen and Harding over-react so ludicrously to everything that we can't understand how John can bear to be around them.

Side roles are even more thankless. Morrissey's character is a gurning idiot (and the first man to lose his trousers), while the parade of A-list British cameos is jaw-dropping simply because the whole thing is so sloppy. Running gags vanish halfway through the film without a pay-off, set-pieces are so madcap that they make no sense at all, and the characters change personalities from scene to scene. There's also a strange retro attitude in which these working class people are overly formal and disapproving of even the vaguest hint of sexuality. Along the way, you may laugh at something inane, but the real challenge is to sit through it to the end.

Rich Cline



Run For Your Wife

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 33 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 28th October 2009

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Ray Cooney, John Luton

Producer: Graham Fowler, James Simpson

Starring: as John Smith, as Stephanie Smith, as Michelle Smith, as Gary Gardner, as Susie Browning, as Bobby Franklin, Lionel Blair as Cyril, Jeffrey Holland as Dick Holland, as Bag Lady

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.