Run for Your Wife – review

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There's a moment in an old Goon Show where Peter Sellers sonorously says in his officer-class voice: "Old England isn't finished yet.

It's finished …" [FX: dinner gong] "… now!" That gong, signalling the end of British self-respect, sounded deafeningly as the houselights dimmed for this film. Argentinian president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will wish to block-book it for every cinema in Buenos Aires. It's a big-screen version of the trouser-dropping stage farce Run for Your Wife, which ran in London's West End from 1983 to 1991, adapted and directed by its author, Ray Cooney, and starring Danny Dyer as the bigamous taxi driver coping with two missuses (Denise van Outen and Sarah Harding) and a next-door neighbour (Neil Morrissey) who is cheeky, perky and, like everyone else, stunningly unfunny. The humour makes The Dick Emery Show look edgy and contemporary, and the movie features a mind-boggling parade of cameos you are only otherwise liable to see in the cutaway shots of an ITV3 repeat of An Audience with Magnus Pyke. Frank Thornton! Bill Pertwee! Russ Abbot! Connoisseurs of the British thespian scene from 30 years ago are likely, however, to have precisely the same response as those who do not recognise any of these people: an overwhelming desire to buy an old-fashioned town-gas cooking appliance in which one's head will fit snugly.

Powered by article was written by Peter Bradshaw, for The Guardian on Thursday 14th February 2013 22.20 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010