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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.
Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor

But Pryor’s talent nonetheless prevails despite his propensity for profanity. He gets many breaks: an act in Vegas at the Aladdin, a show at NBC, and a $40 million seven-picture deal with Columbia. But in almost every instance, Pryor found himself censored or creatively compromised. And so, according to the witnesses, he wildly acts out in order to express his independence.

Zenovich's 2008 "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," about another controversial figure in American entertainment, was praised for its subtle open-ended quality. "Omit the Logic," while also open-ended regarding the creative and destructive outbursts from the subject, seems empty. It ends with an interview with Pryor, in which he was asked how he would like to be remembered. He says, "I would like someone to look at my picture and laugh and have stories to tell… [I would like to] bring joy. That's how I like to be remembered." While this documentary remembers Pryor, it doesn’t show enough of his brilliant humor or his motivation behind it. It needed to pry further.

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

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