A domestic farce finds Michael Frayn on familiar comic territory as he exposes the eccentricities of a "typcial" middle class, surburban family who find their lives thrown into a crisis with the unexpected arrival of one of the wife's old flames.
Although the producers would have you believe this is a throwback to the Ealing Comedy style, it's nothing of the sort (just a one-paced, one-joke stage farce that has been opened out for the screen by adding a couple of shots of motorway and a front garden). Staunton and Mayall are going through a mid-marriage crisis exacerbated by the arrival of her old flame (Lindsay), on the run from a couple of hitmen following a financial swindle.
As Mayall and his teenage son ogle his ditzy girlfriend (Natalie Walker), Lindsay moves in on Staunton, and the couple's daughter moves her boyfriend into her room. The inevitable round of bursting into bedrooms and bathrooms follows, without a laugh in sight. Things pick up when Mayall's brother (James Fleet) and his wife (Brenda Blethyn) drop in, but as they're merely a clumsy plot contrivance to facilitate Lindsay's escape, their appearance is all too brief.
Michael Frayn is a witty novelist and playwright but on the evidence of this and the John Cleese starrer Clockwise, he hasn't quite got the knack of screenwriting. The real problem, though, is Hurran's leaden direction. Pace and precision are the secrets of stage farce and this film has neither. The cutting during the bedroom/ bathroom sequence is painfully slow, delaying the reactions of the cast so long it makes them look like amateur theatricals.
Unfunny comedy with poor use of some of Britains best comedic actors.