Run For Your Wife

"Terrible"

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

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with...

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

With a spectacular setting and two solid actors on-screen, this thriller builds enough solid suspense...

Cub Movie Review

Cub Movie Review

At a time when horror movies seem to only want to make the audience jump,...

Inside Out Movie Review

Inside Out Movie Review

Those bright sparks at Pixar have done it again, taking a fiercely original approach to...

Advertisement
Southpaw Movie Review

Southpaw Movie Review

Slick direction and meaty performances may be enough for some viewers, but this boxing drama's...

Eden Movie Review

Eden Movie Review

Loose and impressionistic, this beautifully shot film traces the career of a DJ who pioneered...

The Gallows Movie Review

The Gallows Movie Review

Without a single moment of originality, this found-footage horror movie really deserves to be the...

Self/Less Movie Review

Self/Less Movie Review

An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs...

Advertisement