movie film review | chris tookey

Run for Your Wife

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  Run for Your Wife Review
Tookey's Rating
1 /10
Average Rating
2.22 /10
Danny Dyer , Denise van Outen , Sarah Harding
Full Cast >

Directed by: Ray Cooney , John Luton
Written by: Ray Cooney based on his stage play

Released: 2012
Origin: UK
Length: 94

Race for the exit.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Veteran Ray Cooney’s sex farce made a lot of money on stage, for its tale of a bigamous cabbie trying to keep both wives unaware of each other ran nine years in the West End and has been translated into 30 languages.

Thirty years on, however, and transposed to celluloid, it is abysmal: not only unfunny, but dealing in outdated stereotypes that will leave you shaking your head in appalled amazement. Among the most demeaning sights are Christopher Biggins and Lionel Blair camping it up as a pair of flamboyant homosexuals, and an understandably confused-looking Judi Dench as a bag lady being mugged, somewhat implausibly, for her bag.

Every error of taste possible has been made in transferring it to film. One was to “open it out”, which only exposes the piece’s lack of realism, and removes any charm it might have had as a genre piece.

Another was to pad it out with 150 “cameos” by loyal friends of Mr Cooney. They are dramatically intrusive, tragically unfunny and serve only to demonstrate that this is comedy at least thirty years past its sell-by date.

It’s directed with breathtaking ineptitude by Mr Cooney himself and John Luton, in a manner that suggests the only film they have ever watched is Confessions of a Window Cleaner. And yes, Robin Askwith has a celebrity cameo, looking like W.H. Auden in a 70s wig.

Another person who hasn’t aged gracefully is Neil Morrissey. He has to play a gormless neighbour, and he’s gone in one fell swoop from Men Behaving Badly to Man Gurning Horribly.

But his is not the worst performance. The central character is meant to be a lovable rogue; the actor cast, the aptly named Danny Dyer (pictured centre), can do the rogue part, but has proved over numerous terrible British films that he is as lovable as decomposing road-kill. Fred Housego would have been sexier.

Both the unfortunates playing his nagging wives, Denise van Outen (pictured right) and Sarah Harding (left), sound strident, and look hard, coarse and seriously in need of acting lessons.

Run For Your Wife could be shown to electricians as an example of how not to light a film. Thanks also to horrendous production design that seems to have been given a job-lot of hideous paint colours, this is the ugliest picture in living memory.

Movie 43, released to unanimous raspberries a few weeks back, seemed certain to be the worst film of 2013. Already, it’s the second-worst.

“The ultimate British comedy... It makes me feel intelligent.”

(Danny Dyer)

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