Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday [Review]

This isn’t really comic book related but I thought it would be of interest to someone out there in the internet-land ether. My fiancé and I watched Pee-Wee’s big holiday over the weekend and we both loved it. We are both fans of the 80’s movie Pee-Wee’s big adventure and the Saturday morning TV show so seeing this movie was just such a treat. It’s totally a Sunday afternoon movie that you can put on in the background while you chill out on the couch and wait for Monday to arrive. In our cases, I was updating the blog with some neat stuff I found in my archives and she was making wedding invitations. We had already gone to church, eaten breakfast and oh yeah THERE WAS A FRIGGIN BLIZZARD IN APRIL happening outside. So yeah, we weren’t going anywhere.

The premise, keeping with Pee-Wee Herman “tradition”, is not deep at all. Pee-Wee has never left his hometown, is not really curious about leaving his hometown and is perfectly happy working in the diner and “jamming” with his band. That is until the mysterious stranger, Joe Manganiello breezes into town on his motorcycle, convinces that this big world needs some discoverin’ and invites Pee-Wee to his birthday party in New York City. It’s pretty hilarious that Joe is playing himself and the movie is fully aware that 50% of the world’s population has difficulty pronouncing his last name. Including Pee-Wee who mangles his name so often that he just gives up trying to say it correctly and just says something different every time. After Pee-Wee shows Joe his toys and tree house the most self-aware, self-referential, surreal adventure begins.  

This movie is so bizarre. It’s bizarre in a very good way. Put your brain aside for an hour and a half and there is fun to be had. There are several sequences that defy the laws of physics, logistics and basic common sense. If these scenes were to happen in any other movie they would be completely unforgivable and probably lead the viewer to shut off the TV entirely and go read a book, but this is Pee-Wee Herman, so in an odd way they make perfect sense within the context of the movie.
There is a scene where Pee-Wee falls down a well and can’t get out. So, because it makes sense within the context of the movie, Joe Manganiello pulls out an industrial strength magnet out of his pocket (because we all carry those around right?) and pulls Pee-Wee out of the hole because the magnet attaches to the plate in his head. Woof. Oh and this is after Joe repelled down from his penthouse level suite on a line he shot from his personal grappling gun. And of course this isn’t a Batman sized grappling gun, no, no, no my dear reader. It’s the most comically large grappling gun they could find. 

But you know what? I loved every minute of it. The camp is back and the lame jokes still land perfectly. And they are funny! Take a look at this sequence below. (This is the same actress, Diane Salinger, who plays Simone in the 1985 movie: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure)

  
 

“Why don’t you take a picture it’ll last longer!”

 
  

Paul Reubens is still great as Pee-Wee (with the benefit of some strong digital retouching). You can tell that over the last 30 years his voice has changed (totally understandable) so if you are a Pee-Wee aficionado that might take a little getting used to.

We laughed out loud on more than one occasion and if you are looking for a good Sunday-afternoon-chill movie to watch and are a fan of Pee-Wee Herman, you can’t go wrong with Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday.

​Pee-wee’s Big Holiday is a 2016 American comedy film directed by John Lee and written by Paul Reubens and Paul Rust. The film stars Reubens as Pee-wee Herman. The film was released on March 18, 2016, on Netflix.

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