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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Retro Review: See No Evil Hear No Evil (1989)

See No Evil, Hear No Evil
Cast: Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Kevin Spacey, Joan Severance, Alan North
Genre: Comedy
US Box Office Gross: over $46 million

Plot: Dave is deaf, Wally is blind. They witness a murder, but it was Dave who was looking at her, & Wally who was listening

'See No Humour, Hear No Humour'

Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder's third outing after Silver Streak and Stir Crazy, See No Evil, Hear No Evil is a so-called comedy from 1989 with an inventive idea, and yet, unfortunately, its execution ought to have been a whole lot funnier and better. Instead, in sitting through this film, I sensed how terrible it was and is, from a comedy aspect and speaking as a fan of comedy movies myself, what some people saw as funny in 'See No Evil', that humour and comedy were absent throughout.

Store owner Dave, who is hard of hearing and Wally, who is visually impaired and can't see a thing, form an unlikely friendship, after a man is murdered in front of the counter. Finding themselves as suspects, both Wally and Dave track down the woman who set them up, as well as to clear their names.

The jokes and humour fall on deaf ears (no pun intended), as it is neither funny and amusing enough as it ought to be. One would think by having a deaf guy and blind guy there will be lots of silly jokes and humour, but no. The only scene that made me smile was when Pryor's blind character stuck a melting ice cream cone on Wilder's hard-of-hearing character's head. See No Evil, Hear No Evil would have been an ideal film to utilise physical and visual comedy. From slapstick, improvisation work to sight gags, these would have further enhanced the viewing experience and made it more enjoyable. There is an appearance by Joan Severance who went on to carve a name for herself in softcore porn flicks. 

It's hard to believe that the script was written by six people, one of them being Gene Wilder, because the plot made sense but also was one I liked and I'd thought that the film would go to lengths and beyond to become highly amusing and a total laugh-fest. But it is not.

Another problem this film has is that though one is blind and the other is deaf, character- wise they are not so different from one another. In comedies like Bowfinger with Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy, Fathers' Day with Robin Williams and Billy Crystal and Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd, you have a comedy duo made up of one Straight man and one wise guy, the funny one. But here, we have Pryor and Wilder alternating between the two roles, without any real pay- off. Simply because the jokes and visual comedy are just not here in this film. I only smiled like once, & it barely raised a chuckle from me.

Final Verdict:

It's a shame that Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor's talents are wasted, and that along with Arthur Hiller's bland direction and the less entertaining script makes 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil' a routine, unfunny and dull romp. Not even the cursing and nudity made a slight amount of difference.

In all, the premise is good, execution, however, is an utter disappointment.


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