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‘Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic’, a new documentary that recently premiered on Showtime, achieves the impossible. It fails to offer a single concrete insight into why Pryor was one the greatest comedians of our time.

It breezes through the demons that dominated Pryor’s life in its brief 80 minute running time, but it doesn’t bother to find the links to how these demons informed his comedy. It recognizes the profanity of his routines, but doesn’t find it necessary to plunge into the depths beneath that profanity – the raw, confessional qualities that made Pryor not just a hysterical performer, but a relevatory and intensely human one.

Director Marina Zenovich falls back on the subtitle of her film as a crutch and a cop out. What she seems to be saying is “There’s no way to make sense of Richard Pryor, so why bother trying?” As a result, her film plays like the cinematic equivalent of reading a bio on Wikipedia. (D-)

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