While a box office success at the time, 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil' was very negatively received critically and, while it has its defenders, many still consider it a lesser Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor effort.
From personal opinion, 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil' doesn't see Wilder and Pryor at their best. Of their four double act collaborations, my personal favourite is 'Silver Streak' while also really enjoying 'Stir Crazy' mostly (where the partnership between the two is more equal and even more inspired) if not as even (with a second half that doesn't fare as well as the first half). At the same time, 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil' doesn't disgrace either Wilder or Pryor and doesn't hurt what made their chemistry so enjoyable in the first place. It's not a great film, but to me it is nowhere near as bad as reputed and a better film than their last collaboration 'Another You'.
'See No Evil, Hear No Evil' has its good things. It's hardly a cheap-looking film, it's nicely shot and cohesively edited mostly. The music is a good, sometimes quirky, never over-bearing and rarely mismatched, fit.
Not everything works here material-wise but some lines are funny, Pryor especially has some gems, and there are a few amusing gags. The concept of the story is a quite unique one, and despite some worries as to how it would turn out, the film treats the concept nowhere near as distastefully as feared. Not everything comes cleverly and there is a lack of taste and subtlety at times but there really has been far more offensive content.
Like with their previous two collaborations, Wilder and Pryor are a well-matched double act and both enjoy themselves and give good performances as well as being convincing in their characters' handicaps. Although with a less understated and louder character, meaning that he could easily have fallen into the trap of being annoying, Pryor does provide some very nice moments, but Wilder's gentler in comparison performance is no less inferior and doesn't resort to mugging.
Quite a lot is lacking however, or at least from personal view, in 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil'. While Wilder and Pryor are good, the supporting cast are less so. Alan North fares least badly. Joan Severance has sex appeal and allure going for her but exudes little threat or much personality for that matter, and to say that Kevin Spacey in a very early role went on to much better things later on than his too-silly-to-be-taken-seriously is being very kind.
Scripting has its moments, as said, but too many of the jokes (even for the kind of the comedy it was going for and the film's concept) were far too juvenile and some so idiotic it nearly insults the intelligence. The story has an interesting idea but it became confused and contrived the more it went on (especially the caper element that was nearly completely lost amongst the humour).
Erratic pacing (sometimes too hectic, at other times suffering from a lack of urgency) and the chaotic, and like it belonged more in a cartoon, action does no favours either.
In conclusion, okay film if not great. Not that bad, while not with enough to passionately defend it either. 5/10 Bethany Cox