I remember first seeing this movie when I was about five years old, and I found it hilarious. I caught the movie a couple more times on network TV, but this is the first time I watched it again in its unedited form.
Needless to say, Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder are both wonderful talents with an irreplacable chemistry, and that chemistry is utilized very well throughout. Of course, the brilliantly original premise helps as well. A blind guy and a deaf guy who pair up to solve a murder? Classic! That premise is used wonderfully. There's a great line where they're interrogated and angry officer screams out, "Between the two of you, you saw and heard everything!"
There's a lot of great fish-out-of-water humor involving Pryor's blindness and Wilder's deafness. One of the most hilarious gags, along with the car chase, is when Pryor helps another blind man to walk across the street, and they end up in the back of a truck. Now that's a literal example of the blind leading the blind. Each gag is delivered and timed very well, thanks for the great actors and veteran director Arthur Hiller, who has directed the two leads before in "Silver Streak."
This isn't a perfect comedy. A few gags fall flat, but the key word is "few." Some reviewers and audiences have regarded this as the low point in Wilder's and Pryor's careers. I think of "Another You" as the low point, which is a horribly forgettable comedy that unfortunately was the last film they did together.
A good deal of the gags are far-fetched, but this is a slapstick farce and you have to expect that. That's why I always say that this is a very tricky sub-genre and if not done correctly, the audience will totally stop suspending disbelief and simply scoff at its foolishness.
Fans of Pryor and Wilder should not be disappointed. Also, if you want to see an early (comic) performance by Kevin Spacey, it's also worth checking out. Speaking of worth checking out, Joan Severance provides great eye candy, and she has a couple of nude scenes to boot. I was born in 1982, so this was the first movie where I saw the two comics together on screen, so "See No Evil" is more unique to me than it probably is to others. But come on! With scenes like a high-speed car chase involving a blind man and a deaf man trying to escape, how can this not be regarded as a "unique" comedy?
My score: 7 (out of 10)
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