There was a murder.
The blind guy didn’t see it, but he smelt and heard it. The deaf guy didn’t hear it but he saw the perpetrator walking away. Both guys work in the same news kiosk, and in the aftermath they are initially suspects and conveniently end up with a key piece of evidence on their person, something the real killers badly want.
Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor made a few films in the 80s as a duo. They were usually OK – but only OK, but this premise somehow works well for them. The early going basically shows the extent of their respective afflictions and how they deal with the everyday activities, and how they both are desperate to live as normal a life as possible without unwanted pity or attention from others.
Pryor is Wally the blind guy, and Wilder is David the deaf guy who reads lips, neither blindness nor deafness is treated as a cause for a laugh, but the filmmakers do throw a few cheapies in, walking into doors, misreading lips etc…
The killers are Joan Severance and Kevin Spacey. I was maybe 15 when this first arrived on video and there is a topless scene that goes for a good (and I mean good) couple minutes that held my fragile mind captive for a long while.
Once the murder occurs right in front of the blind guy and behind the deaf guy the action starts. In a convenient turn of events the deceased is Wally’s bookie so they are taken into custody under suspicion of murder.
As the plot is largely there to facilitate the jokes I’ll put this on FF from here.
Wally and David escape custody and go on the run, they immediately run into the real killers who retrieve their target and decide to kill them rather than risk them blabbing the truth. Again of course our sensorally-challenged heroes escape and go about getting to the bottom of things. They cannot rely on police assistance as they are still technically wanted fugitives, and the guys they are chasing are intent on killing them, so they induct Wally’s sister into the gang. (She has no noticeable disabilities.)
The chase takes them to the hotel where the killers are lying low and ultimately a mansion on a mountainside for the final face-off.
As well as the fine chesticles displayed by Severance the other thing that struck me upon rewatching this film is just how funny it all still is, everyone knows Pryor is funny but as Wally he provides laughter from the first scene until the last and even when the plot stoops to gutter humour he still manages to make it funny. There are phrases and jokes that I have used for years and had forgotten their origin, I now know that more than a few of them came from this film.
Final Rating – 8 / 10. Forget the dopey poster and the fact that you probably don’t know who the guys on the cover are. This is funny stuff and worth a look. (The DVD release does edit the topless scene a lot though boys… sorry.)