Follow TV Tropes


Film / See No Evil, Hear No Evil

Go To

See No Evil, Hear No Evil is a 1989 American comedy Buddy Picture directed by Arthur Hiller starring comedy duo Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in their third collaboration onscreen.note 

When David Lyons (Wilder) hired Wally Karew (Pryor) at his concession shop, both men didn't expect to witness a murder. Unfortunately for them, Wally, as a blind man, only heard the gunshot while Dave, as a deaf man, had a brief glimpse of the murderer so their relative uselessness as witnesses made them the prime suspects of a crime they didn't commit. Hilarity Ensues as they work together to stop the real criminals whilst being chased down by the police.

This film provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: David and Wally slide down a cable in the climax, just as Gus, also played by Richard Pryor, slides down a cable in the climax of Superman III.
  • Affably Evil:
    • The exchanges Eve has with our bumbling heroes are very cordial and genuinely friendly, and she even grants Dave his last request of gently scratching his nose before he's supposed to be shot.
    • Sutherland is complimentary toward his associates and willing to explain his plans in order to sate people's curiosity. None of this undermines his status as a scheming, cold-blooded killer.
  • An Aesop: Disabled people aren't useless, or stupid. They shouldn't be stigmatised or humiliated. It's not shameful to be disabled and we shouldn't make them feel ashamed that they are.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Mr. Sutherland keeps three of them, so Wally has to distract them by whistling. When one of the dogs goes after him anyway, Dave distracts him by tossing a jar of peanut butter.
  • Blind Black Guy: Wally.
  • Blind Driving / Take the Wheel: Wally ends up having to take the wheel and navigate according to commands shouted by Dave, who is handcuffed and can only operate the foot pedals.
    Wally: "These streets are bumpy."
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Sutherland can shoot rather well despite being blind, as he uses his hearing to locate people.
  • Brandishment Bluff: Dave breaks into the hotel room of Eve, the woman trying to kill him, and rifles through her bag, only to find her showering, and blinded by the soap. When he accidentally makes a noise that makes her run out, he sticks his hand in his pocket and pretends that his erection is a gun in order to escape - but not before good-naturedly making her do a Shameful Strip.
  • Buddy Picture: The two friends have to save the day despite their disabilities, with Dave acting as Wally's eyes, and Wally acting as Dave's ears.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: A policewoman taking Dave's photo is relaying information through Wally, which results in a misunderstanding where Dave keeps facing away from the camera. This results in her repeating "shit" some twenty times in rapid succession.
    • Because he can only read lips, Dave wonders why she says "ship" so many times.
    • While pushing a car, Dave and Wally have this conversation.
    Wally: "But I say fuck it, I'm not going to worry about him. Fuck him!"
    Dave: "You swear an awful lot."
    Wally: "You're fucking-a right!"
    Dave: "Fucking-A! Something bothers you, fuck it! Your wife leaves you, fuck her. Your boss fires you? Fucking-A. Fuck it! Fuck! Fuck 'em! Fuck it! Right?"
    Wally: "You're fucking right!"
  • Darkened Building Shootout: A shootout occurs in a dark building — with a twist, as Wally and the Big Bad being blind is what causes the "darkness".
  • Disabled Snarker: Both Dave and Wally have heavy sarcastic streaks.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Eve, upon realizing that Mr. Sutherland is planning to cheat her out of her share of the money, shoots him until he falls backwards out of a window, to prevent him from shooting her like he did Kujo. She then becomes the remaining obstacle for the heroes for the remainder of the film.
  • Dramatic Irony: Dave has one of the burglars cornered and start ordering him to drop the gun, turn around, etc... unaware there's a squad of cops right behind him since he's deaf.
  • Evil Brit: Kujo, Eve's partner, is an English criminal.
  • Fauxreigner: In order to visit the hotel where the criminals are staying, Wally and Dave pretend to be a Swedish gynaecologist and a German doctor respectively.
  • Flashed-Badge Hijack: Parodied when a bad guy pretends to be a cop and tries to commandeer a car. The driver demands to see a badge. The bad guy just gives up and produces his gun instead. The driver gives up his car, complete with a whimpered "Please don't kill me."
  • Handy Helper: Throughout the film, Dave is constantly steering Wally away from danger, while Wally relays information to Dave by speaking in his view so he can read his lips.
  • Lady in Red: Eve wears a red coat the first time she appears in the story.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Wally. Dave is also one but a bit more modest.
  • Leg Focus: Eve has a pair of legs so spectacular that almost every man she meets feels the need to comment on them. They're so great Dave can identify her just by looking at them.
  • MacGuffin: The gold coin that's actually a gold-plated sample of a room-temperature superconductor.
  • Missed Him by That Much: During the climactic confrontation between Wally and the Big Bad in the latter's office, with the two men sometimes unknowingly passing within a few feet of each other. This is justified by the fact that both men are stone blind.
  • Modesty Towel: Eve is forced to surrender hers when Dave tricks her into thinking he has a gun pointed at her.
  • Mouthscreen: We get a close-up of someone's mouth when he calls David a "fucking idiot".
  • Naked People Are Funny: Eve both in and out of the shower.
  • No Indoor Voice: Wally, a lot of the time. He is blind, after all, and frequently hanging out with a deaf man.
  • Police Are Useless: Regardless of how difficult Wally was being about being blind, the very, VERY first thing the police chief should have done about him being blind and Dave being deaf would be to run out and find specialists. As it is, he doesn't even contact a lawyer. Instead, he tries to question Dave without even a lawyer present.
  • Reading Lips: This is how Dave handles his deafness.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Eve goes from being a not so Innocent Fanservice Girl in the shower (unaware that Dave is outside) to being a very reluctant one when Dave bluffs her into doing a Shameful Strip.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Occurs right after Wally reveals he's blind, unaware that Dave is deaf.
    Dave: You're really blind?
    Wally: Yes, I'm really blind, man! What, you fucking deaf or something?
    Dave: Yes! I'm fucking deaf!
  • Sassy Black Woman: Wally's sister at the start of the film. Justified, because she's frustrated by her brother's stubborn refusal to accept help with his disability, and he got into an accidental exchange of verbal fisticuffs with Dave (who was insulting a truck driver who was rude to him, but Wally doesn't know that).
  • Scared of What's Behind You: Dave is trying to use a knife to threaten a burglar and, unable to hear the cops behind him, assumes the burglar is responding to his threats.
  • Shameful Strip: When Eve emerges from her shower with nothing but a Modesty Towel Dave passes off his erection as a gun to hold her at bay. He then bluffs her into dropping her towel, allowing him to enjoy the sight of her wet naked body all over again - he even has the nerve to kiss Eve while she believes he has her at gun point. For her part Eve looks humiliated yet aroused at the same time.
  • Shower Scene: Eve is showering. The scene then changes when Dave sneaks into the bathroom to steal her bag. She has her eyes closed because of the soap, and Dave spends a good minute staring at her as she slides the door open, leans out, and reaches right next to him to grab the bag, and he has to pretend it's been on the shelf while watching her. This leads to a very Shameful Strip for Eve a few minutes later.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: Eve kisses Dave when Kujo is all set to shoot the pair. Dave responds with "You are a deeply sick woman." He returns the favor later.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Wally lands on top of Eve riding a zipline down to her helicopter. Whilst grappling with her, he takes the opportunity to feel her breasts.
  • Wham Line: After Sutherland talks about how he turned off the lights to give himself an advantage during a fight, Wally asks a question that sets the scene for an evenly matched fight.
    Wally: How come I got the feeling I'm not the only blind person in this room?
    Sutherland: Because you have great intuition, Mr. Karew.