Richard Pryor is a scream as a wrongly accused bank robber. Gene Wilder is just so-so as his partner. [19 June 1981]
An inspired comedy title, Stir Crazy blends several inventive, high-spirited performing talents into a tangy, cheerful entertainment. [12 Dec 1980, p.E1]
Director Sidney Poitier’s chief role seems to be providing enough space for Pryor and Wilder to do their schtick without going too far afield from the scant storyline
It's strange about Stir Crazy. We go in with big expectations, and we laugh so much at the beginning that we're ready for the movie to launch itself as a hit. And then it all goes flat and we come out disappointed.
The New York Times
Stir Crazy is an energetic but spiritless shambles.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Just as the promising parody of prison films begins to catch fire, Friedman and Poitier douse it with a bucketful of realism. [13 Dec 1980]