See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) starring Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Joan Severance, Kevin Spacey, Alan North directed by Arthur Hiller Movie Review

See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)

Deaf, Blind and Unfortunately Dumb

As comedians I like Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor both as a comedy double act and in many of their solo movies. But when it comes to their third movie together "See No Evil, Hear No Evil", well I think for the most it was misguided and often inappropriate as they delve the depths of a comedy surrounding the disabilities of two people who are blind and deaf. It's just very uncomfortable to watch and as such is not necessarily very funny, rather a bit cringe worthy and often repetitive as the same gags are used over and over again.

After a confusing first meeting Dave (Gene Wilder - Stir Crazy) the deaf owner of a small cigar stand and blind Wally (Richard Pryor - Brewster's Millions) form an unlikely friendship as they work together. But when a man is shot in front of the counter Dave only saw the back of a mysterious woman leaving and Wally only heard a gun being fired. Held as suspects for the killing, they decide to go on the run and track down the mysterious woman in the hope of clearing their names, except the mysterious woman is after them as well.

Kevin Spacey and Joan Severance in See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)

Before I get to all the inappropriate comedy it has to be said that "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" does have a storyline except it is seriously weak, predictable and mainly used as a vehicle for all the gags. Two guys accused of something they haven't done who then go on the run to try and clear their names is not new and even throwing it into a comedy fails to make it any different to anything else which uses the same theme. The best parts of "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" are basically the beginning, where there is some ingenuity to the unlikely meeting and friendship between Wally and Dave, and the end where a semi clever twist is thrown in to stop it from being unimportant. There is very little else when it comes to an actual storyline and as such it is left to the comedy to try and carry it.

Sadly though the comedy side of "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" is seriously left wanting. Maybe when they came up with the idea of an unlikely friendship between a blind guy and a deaf guy they thought they could make some statement about disability not meaning you are less capable. Maybe they thought they could just use it for a series of inspired visual gags, because it does throw up some interesting possibilities as they help each other out. Except the comedy we see in "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" is for the most unintelligent and ends up nearly taking the mickey out of the disabilities. It's sad because "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" ends up as just a series of very repetitive gags which become tiresome rather than funny.

But whilst much of the comedy falls flat the performances from Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor are not that bad. Wilder as the deaf shop owner Dave Lyons goes for the more quieter restrained performance and as such is likable, something which Wilder has always managed to achieve. Where as Pryor goes for the over the top reactions as blind guy Wally Karue and as such is very much stereotypical Pryor. Together the partnership works brilliantly with some nice dialogue and a relaxed nature to their performances just a shame that much of the material they work with is pretty lame.

Aside from Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor there are no real other remarkable performances although Kevin Spacey as bad guy Kirgo is slightly amusing for his over the top English accent and Joan Severace is certainly beautiful as Eve.

What this all boils down to is that "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" is to be frank not the greatest comedy. The idea of having a blind guy and a deaf guy form an unlikely friendship and then help each other to try and clear their names is nothing more than repetitive and unfortunately a little inappropriate. Which is a shame because aside from that the partnership of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor works well although not a patch on the likes of their other movies together such as "Stir Crazy".