"“Danny Dyer doing slapstick farce? As you were...”"

Adapted from the eponymous Ray Cooney stage play, as you can tell from the somewhat conspicuously named Run For Your Wife, this film is just one big joke. The question, however, is that bar the audience, is anyone else actually in on it?

Run For Your Wife – with a screenplay provided by Cooney himself – features Danny Dyer as John Smith, a bigamist cab driver who has two wives, Michelle (Denise Van Outen) and Stephanie (Sarah Harding), as he leads a double life, spending half his time in their separate London flats respectively.

However, when he finds himself in hospital after attempting to defend an old lady (Dame Judi Dench, seriously) during a mugging, he gives the wrong address to the police, and suddenly his big secret is on the verge of being revealed. Confiding in neighbour Gary (Neil Morrissey), the pair attempt to resolve matters, as John must do all he can to avoid either of his two wives finding out about the other, while the police are showing an interest in this shady character too, as all hell breaks loose over the course of one fateful day.

Run For Your Wife is a traditional farce, as a film that ticks along at a fast pace, and credit where it's due; you're never once bored during this feature. Like any farce, there is that moment when everything culminates together to the point where you simply don't know how this situation can escalate any further, and when it reaches that moment you can't help but smile. The film is so obvious and predictable, yet in a sense it needs to be and it does appear to revel in its own frivolity. There is one moment where you see a woman walking around with a chocolate cake and you think “I wonder how long it will be until someone accidentally sits on it and makes it look like they've shat themselves”. Around seven minutes, by the way.

However, the majority of laughter in this film is in the act of disbelief as it's quite difficult to comprehend exactly what you're watching. Cooney is getting on now – in his eighties no less - and my God you can tell. Run For Your Wife, despite being set in contemporary London, is stuck in the 1970s, with a Carry On style of humour, and a mindless disregard of any ethnic characters, and an ignorant (albeit innocent) bashing of homosexuals and transvestites – not to mention the overriding sexism that exists. It's remarkable really, as a film that simply feels outdated. It's not malicious in it's approach but it's full of the nuances that you simply can't get away with today. You could leave the cinema very offended, but it's really not worth it.

Cooney, who co-directed the feature alongside John Luton, lets himself off the hook in a way by creating such a bright and colourful picture, giving the feature an almost surreal feel, which detracts from any realism that is otherwise conveniently ignored. However, Run For Your Wife can't escape feeling too much like a stage production, in no way helped by the fact it bears an extremely similar premise to the recent West End triumph One Man, Two Guvnors. Which, if ever adapted to the big screen, should take pointers from this, and learn exactly how not to do it.

Meanwhile, and one of the few positives to come out of this film – there are several quite fun cameo performances, from the likes of Christopher Biggins and Lionel Blair, to Rolf Harris, Richard Briers and Cliff Richard. The majority of which you can understand, but Dench? Oh, Dame. However, for the majority of them this must have been great fun as shooting this picture must have been like travelling back in a time machine to their own youths (and when most of them were actually famous). As for the other performances, well they're all pretty terrible really. I mean, Danny Dyer doing slapstick farce? As you were.

Run For Your Wife is a terrible movie, there is no denying that, as my head spent the majority of the film nestled in between my despairing hands. Having said that, it does almost need to be terrible to work. It has dreadful cheesy titles, a horrible title song, ridiculous pantomime-esque sound design, and the acting is woeful. But, had any of this been improved upon, this film wouldn't have worked at all. It's like a parody of a farce and whether Cooney intended it to be that way or not, he had better embrace it, because otherwise there are literally no excuses.