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

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Advertisement
Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

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.