Stir Crazy gives us Pryor and Wilder at the top of their respective games.

Wilder and Pryor are a perfect pair as joint losers who approach each scenario with a mixture of anxiety, fear, and clueless, go-for-broke insanity. From Skip giddily riding a mechanical bull in the prison warden’s office—which convinces the chief to have the prisoner compete at the upcoming rodeo competition—to Harry vainly trying to take a sip of water from a sieve-like ladle, Stir Crazy is a series of vignettes tethered together by the loopy shenanigans of its stars.

Working from a silly script by Bruce Jay Friedman, director Sidney Poitier eschews plot (at least until the prison-break finale) in favour of emphasising Wilder and Pryor’s buffoonish habit of constantly getting physically tangled up in knots. The result is a film that’s funny less for its conceptual cleverness than the peerlessly silly faces and ridiculous contortions of two legendary headliners at the peak of their tag-team game.

This event is part of the BFI’s BLACK STAR season, taking place UK-wide, supported by Film Hub NI, part of the Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery.

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