Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Nikki Finke Returns Nikki Finke Returns Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A)

Tribeca Review: 'Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic' Leaves Out Insight

Thompson on Hollywood By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood April 25, 2013 at 1:39AM

It is perplexing to understand how a documentary about someone as funny, alive, honest, edgy, and brilliant as Richard Pryor can fall so flat. Marina Zenovich’s documentary on the comedian, "Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic," premiering at Tribeca, testifies to the comedian's humor and brilliantly dark view of the world around him. But "Omit the Logic" doesn’t show the audience anything new or insightful about him.
1
Richard Pryor

How can a documentary about someone as funny, alive, honest, edgy, and brilliant as Richard Pryor can fall so flat? Marina Zenovich’s documentary on the comedian, "Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic," premiering at Tribeca, testifies to the comedian's humor and brilliantly dark view of the world around him. But "Omit the Logic" doesn’t show the audience anything new or insightful about him. There was magic to Pryor, but we don't see enough of Pryor being Pryor. 

Sure, comedians from Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Dave Chappelle, Lily Tomlin to Mel Brooks admire Pryor’s prodigious talent. But their observations are pat, their character testimonies not perceptive. They don't seem to have enough space to flesh out their ideas about the man. 

Comedian David Banks says, "Don't try to find no logic, a lot of this you hear, logic is omitted." This statement provides the title of Zenovich’s documentary--and perhaps an admission of a copout. There's no need for logic, but there is for more delving, insight and inquiry.

In terms of Pryor’s biography, the documentary shows his tragic background but stays on the surface, failing to dig deep. His grandmother was a matriarch of a bordello, where Pryor grew up. That environment provided Pryor with fodder for unbelievable stories and an ability to make a joke out of a tragic or traumatic situation. We hear that Pryor's background allowed him to laugh at anything, but we don't see him struggling with this. 

There is a clip, in which Pryor says: "I don't know what it was that made me that way, I could laugh at anything, nothing was too sad that some humor that could not be found in it." But other than this admission, we see little of Pryor coping with his hardships. 

What "Omit the Logic" covers well is how Pryor's magnetic humor was at odds with entertainment standards. An agent, who "discovered" Pryor at the Cafe a Go Go in New York, said his first thought was that "this guy is going to be a major star if I can get him to put two sentences together without fuck, motherfucker, cunt."

This article is related to: Tribeca Film Institute, Tribeca Film Festival, Tribeca, Documentary, Documentaries, Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir, Festivals


E-Mail Updates






Festivals on TOH