Ray Cooney’s 1983 West End comedy “Run for Your Wife” hobbles weakly to the screen in this adaptation co-helmed by Cooney and John Luton. Even more creakily archaic than its source’s vintage might suggest, and with a cast unlikely to deliver B.O. even in Blighty, this strained farce will find its best chances in ancillary, but only at bargain-basement prices. Despite the successful export of Cooney’s stage play around the world, foreign prospects look similarly limp.London taxi driver John Smith (Danny Dyer) has been happily leading a bigamous double life with oblivious wives Michelle (Denise Van Outen) and Stephanie (singer Sarah Harding). But when a heroic stunt attracts local newspaper attention, John and dim-bulb neighbor Gary (Neil Morrissey) must race across town, spinning idiocies to deflect inquiries from suspicious coppers and wives. The laborious climax involves gallons of water, trouser divestment and gay stereotypes (Christopher Biggins, Lionel Blair) beamed in from a distant age. As for the host of cameos from random relics (Cliff Richard, Rolf Harris) and a should’ve-known-better Judi Dench, it can only be imagined that none actually read the script.
A Ballpark Film Distributors release and presentation. (International sales: Arclight Films, Beverly Hills.) Produced by Graham Fowler, James Simpson. Executive producer, Vicki Michelle. Co-producer, Nigel Goldsack. Co-executive producers, Phil Richards, Phil Taylor. Directed by Ray Cooney, John Luton. Screenplay, Cooney based on his stage play.
Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Graham Fowler; editor, John Pegg; music, Lawrence Hiller, Sophie Hiller, Walter Mair; music supervisor, James Simpson; production designer, Fi Russell; art director, Ellie Williams; set decorator, Philippa Breslin; costume designer, Tony Priestley; sound (Dolby Digital), Marco Iavarone, Nikos Nikolalaios; supervising sound editor, Andrew Wilkinson; re-recording mixers, Adam Daniel, Graham Daniel; stunt coordinator, Jamie Edgell; assistant director, Roger Bruce; casting, Jeremy Zimmerman. Reviewed on DVD, London, Feb. 15, 2013. Running time: 94 MIN.
Danny Dyer, Denise Van Outen, Sarah Harding, Neil Morrissey, Ben Cartwright, Nicholas Le Prevost, Kellie Shirley, Christopher Biggins, Lionel Blair.