out of Five
Running time: 94
Run for Your Wife is undoubtedly corny, thanks to a bad script, dreadful acting and lack of comic value, but this British comedy is surprisingly quite watchable.
What’s it all about?
Directed by John Luton and Ray Cooney (who also writes), Run for Your Wife is a British comedy about John Smith (Danny Dyer), a black cab driver with a double life. Working around his varying shift work, John spends half of his time at home in Finsbury with his wife Stephanie (Sarah Harding) and the rest of his time in his Stockwell flat with his other wife, Michelle (Denise Van Outen). All is going well until one night when John unwittingly jumps to the defence of an old lady (Judi Dench) and becomes a local hero. With the cops wanting him for witness questioning and the local papers wanting to take his photograph, John must enlist the help of his neighbour Gary (Neil Morrissey) to keep his bigamous marriage a secret from the police and his wives.
Run for Your Wife is undeniably terrible on so many levels, but somehow, if expectations are lowered, it’s strangely quite entertaining. It might be the awful jokes, which are so bad they’re actually funny for the wrong reasons or it might be Neil Morrissey, who although certainly isn’t vying for the Oscars, is strangely likeable and endearing to watch. Interestingly, according to sources, over 80 celebrities agreed to make ‘cameo’ appearances in the film and each donated their fees to a theatrical charity, so in a sense Run for Your Wife is all for a good cause.
Run for Your Wife is certainly not without faults. The entire cast are, quite frankly, appalling in their roles, most notably Denise Van Outen and Sarah Harding, who look like they’ve arrived on set straight from the tanning salon. Danny Dyer, on the other hand, is sadly not cute, funny or charming enough to carry off the John Smith role and his palpable arrogance is really difficult to warm to. However, it’s Christopher Biggins with his embarrassing one-liners who’s actually the most annoying to watch.
Undoubtedly, the script is incredibly corny and the plot gets more and more ridiculous as it goes on. For some reason, all of the rooms featured in the film are also painted in garishly bright colours and so Run for Your Wife isn’t even visually attractive. Finally, the slapstick humour borders on ridiculous and none of the intended humour translates.
With its poor acting, ridiculous plot and embarrassingly unfunny script, Run for Your Wife is far from a masterpiece, but it’s actually surprisingly fun. Not as bad as it looks.