See No Evil, Hear No Evil

Dir: Arthur Hiller, 1989



A weak and misguided effort at a comedy or one of the best comedies of the 80’s?

Dave Lyons (Gene Wilder) is deaf and works at a chemist’s. Wally Karew (Richard Pryor) is blind and applies for a job at the chemist.

The two become good friends, however, a murder occurs in the chemist but Dave didn’t hear it but can see the body and weapon. Wally didn’t see it but heard the gun go off. So, between them, they saw and heard everything!

Now suspects in the murder, the police are chasing them and the killers want them for a gold coin left by the victim.

As you can see, there’s not much of a plot. It’s pretty much run of the mill but it works.

Pryor and Wilder star together, again, in their third outing after Silver Streak and Stir Crazy.

A great duo, the pair could have gone on to do a lot more and, maybe, they would have but, alas, we’ll never know as Pryor had Multiple Sclerosis and after fourth and final film, Another You, Pryor retired from Hollywood and stand up.

But See No Evil, Hear No Evil is the best out of all of them.

The dialogue is pretty ripe with it’s amount of f-words, mostly spluttered by Pryor but he’s a born comic and can spit obscenities out at infinite length and they never stop being funny.

Wilder can’t do sleazy or dirty. He’s just too polite a person for that. He has an onscreen presence as the kindly character that would be somebody’s uncle.

With that in mind, you can clearly imagine Pryor talking about “big ol’ titties” and “pussy”. It just seems to flow naturally from him.

Joan Severance is stunningly beautiful in this. With long legs and a shapely figure, Hiller, unashamedly, chooses any opportunity to flaunt it. Her gratuitous shower scene comes mind, but, the nudity is only available on the full screen VHS. The widescreen DVD obscures it (bastard widescreen!).

Like a lot of models, her acting leaves a lot to be desired. Wooden, yet with a flawless English accent, Severance clearly put the time and effort in to make the role her own and does give it a damn good try.

But, she’s beautiful and that makes up for anything.

Interestingly, this was one multiple Oscar winner and king of Hollywood Kevin Spacey’s earliest films.

Sporting a suspicious lump/spot/cyst or whatever on his face, becoming mega famous must have roused the vanity in him as he no longer has it.

Like Severance, he can deliver a perfect English accent but, unlike Severance, can actually act.

Although this is not the best film for him to display his acting chops, he does fine work as one of the baddies, hot on the heels of Dave and Wally. He out acts his female co-star by 100% but, to be fair, she wouldn’t be out of place in Sherwood Forest.

It’s a really funny film, with two very likeable stars that clearly have a love and respect for each other. That’s not something that you can fake.

Maybe it’s a little bit cheesy at times but who cares? That was what 80’s films were like.

Altogether, an all round, solid film with bags of entertainment.


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