First time director John Lee (Wonder Showzen) starts with a classic Rube Goldberg chain of events that get Pee-Wee out of bed, bright and early, with excitement to go out into the town of Faireville. Pee-Wee is the chef at the local diner in town, where everything looks as if the clock has been turned back into a John Waters Cry-Baby 50's style. A place where only someone such as Pee-Wee could live in 2016 and it all still makes sense. Any fears that I personally had about this new installment of Pee-Wee disappeared into the basement of the Alamo.
While working at the diner, a man on a motorcycle arrives (played by Joe Manganiello) and challenges Pee-Wee to get on the road to experience life outside of his pleasant town. This sends our guy on a journey, filled with the gamut of characters, such as a trio of Russ Meyer's inspired bank robbers (played by Jessica Pohly, Alia Shawkat, and Stephanie Beatriz) who go right along with other memorable folks from Big-Adventure or even Big-Top Pee-Wee. It helps that the screenplay, co-written by Reubens and current Netflix show Love writer Paul Rust, share an equal childish humor which fits perfectly into the Pee-Wee universe.
Select scenes along the road that feel out of place hinder Pee-Wee's Big Holiday from being a masterpiece. Yet, after several more watches, I may change my tune. At first, some critics did not enjoy characters like Large Marge or even the concept of a grown man in a gray tuxedo attempting to make people of all ages laugh. He does it again though, especially in one of the best scenes of 2016 involving Pee-Wee, people in an amish town, and a balloon.
At the premiere, with a raucous crowd for South by Southwest, I was overcome with joy, not just because I was laughing alongside with them, but because I was amazed that producer Judd Apatow and Paul Reubens had pulled it off. Pee-Wee's Big Holiday is the movie that fans of the past can be proud to call a part of the family, while new fans have a chance to experience what so many of us loved in 1985 about Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. Thankfully it's available on Netflix, so I can watch it again and again. I know you are...and so am I!
Written by: Leo Brady
MOVIE: PEE-WEE'S BIG HOLIDAY
STARRING: PAUL REUBENS; JESSICA POHLY; JOE MANGANIELLO; ALIA SHAWKAT
DIRECTED BY: JOHN LEE
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The caveat is that Pee-Wee's Big Holiday is only for longtime fans of all things Pee-Wee Herman. If you are not a fan of the gray suited, red bow-tie wearing jokester, then I guess I can see why you wouldn't enjoy his newest movie, now available on Netflix. Although, you would be wrong, because the newest getaway with Paul Reubens' timeless character is chalk full of enjoyable sight gags, wild characters, and that standard Pee-Wee charm that will have audiences of the past full of nostalgia, and new fans wanting a sequel.