See No Evil, Hear No Evil

 
Great comedy duo in crass disappointment.
  • Review Date: July 14, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1989
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Of course this comedy is terribly un-PC to make light of disabilities, but it's also a product of another time. Nobody displays good behavior, least of all the hapless heroes, who are rude, crude, and imbecilic. And disrespectful to women. The police are not much better behaved and, in fact, the villains are the most polite, courteous, and sophisticated of the whole lot.

Violence

Characters are shot dead, punched, smacked, and knocked out. Guns are wielded and fired, hostages are taken.

Sex

In one creepy scene, Wilder's Dave points a gun and the sexy killer who must drop her towel to put her hands in the air. She is helpless and naked (breasts are shown) and Dave ogles her with lust and kisses her -- at gunpoint. Later the blind Wally cops a protracted feel when he is attempting to capture and apprehend Eve.

Language

Gratuitous and ubiquitous bad language with a whole lot of the "f' word.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while this movie's absurd premise might seem to make it pretty kid-friendly, its full of cussing and shouting, and unpleasant good guys. People are killed, hostages are taken, cars are driven irresponsibly and stolen. There are a few graphic jokes about sex and a female nudity is shown.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Richard Pryor is blind, Gene Wilder is deaf and the two are on the run from the cops and the robbers. When a man is shot and killed at Wilder's newsstand, together the two add up to one unreliable witness. The numskulls then do all the wrong things and wind up as the chief suspects in this murder case. Assuming that the pair hold the murdered man's priceless coin, Kirgo (Kevin Spacey) and Eve (Joan Severance), the actual killers, pose as their lawyers, spring them from jail, and the repeatedly botch umpteen attempts to rub them out and retrieve the coin. This gives the disabled duo ample time to participate in car chases (excitement amplified by the blind man driving) steal police cars, and impersonate Swedish doctors.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This film represents the dregs of comedy from these '70s stars who, by 1989, are passed their prime. The premise of the deaf leading the blind and the blind leading the deaf has about a two-minute sketch's worth of humor. Not to mention that such a politically-incorrect comedy about disability would most likely not be made today, at least not by comedy legends like these.

There are minor flashes of comic absurdity, most notably in a scene in which Pryor, posing as a Swedish gynecologist, is asked to present his research on the orgasm at a medical conference. Such silly zaniness is a stab at the classic humor of Mel Brooks. But even Wilder's attempt at a silly German accent falls flat and reminds us that this is no Young Frankenstein.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the experiences of handicapped persons, how the blind and deaf cope and compensate for their diminished senses. Wilder's character says that people don't want to touch him, fearful that it his deafness is contagious. Families can discuss prejudices and fears about disabled people. Another conversation might center around whether it's good form to find humor in people's disabilities.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 12, 1989
DVD release date:October 30, 2001
Cast:Gene Wilder, Kevin Spacey, Richard Pryor
Director:Arthur Hiller
Studio:Sony Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:R

This review of See No Evil, Hear No Evil was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 10 years old July 16, 2010
age 12+
 

a great movie

a lot of bad language. the f-word is used frequently and the s-word a few times one d**k and some other milder stuff. three men are shot one is very brief but some blood can be seen the others are in the dark 1.a man is shot in the dark. his corpse is seen later some blood is dripping(mild) 2.another man is shot in the dark you only see the shooter you see a little bit of him falling to the floor. he falls behind a desk. some mild threatens like i'll blow your brains out and one i'll throw your brains out(he's holding a knife. in one scene a woman asks a man what he would like before he dies and he responds "i suppose a f**k is out of the question?". mild fist fights. theres a side view of a woman that came out of the shower its at a medium level. a very funny movie. by the way am i the only person on csm thats seen this movie?
What other families should know
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass