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Pee Wee’s Big Holiday Review

"Pee Wee's Big Holiday is an Event that I regret attending."

Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) has not been on the screen big or small in about 25 years. When I cued up this movie on Netflix and saw the Pee Wee Pictures logo appear on the screen before the movie started, the warm feeling of nostalgia rushed over me like a tidal wave. Immediately, my thoughts flashed back to the psycho but brilliant opening credits of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse that I watched every Saturday morning. The expectation started rising for some campy goodness that was fully on display in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and the less superior but still fun Big Top Pee Wee. Unfortunately, Pee Wee’s Big Holiday does not have the same magic as his previous works, and 25 years may be just a wee bit too late.

Pee Wee is not in his playhouse here, but he is in a town called Fairview, and he has never left. Everyone knows Pee-Wee, there are women trying to date Pee-Wee, but Pee-Wee is still portrayed as a young “innocent” boy who thinks girls are icky. He works as a short order cook in a diner, and is the best cook in town, so much so he impresses visiting Hollywood actor Joe Manganiello (playing himself, for no reason). Joe and Pee Wee take an instant liking to each other, and Joe invites Pee Wee to his birthday party in New York. The quandary? New York is all the way across the country, Pee Wee has never left Fairview, and he has to arrive in five days. Will Pee Wee make the party or will he let Joe down?


Following this, the movie becomes a paint by numbers, “insert weird stranger to further the plot” cut and paste bore fest. Just like in Big Adventure, there is a cast of characters that each have a scene for about three minutes or so, who add nothing and are there solely to help Pee Wee progress his story line. They include female bank robbers who hold Pee Wee hostage, a farmer with nine daughters who is itching to marry off one of his girls, and a scene with two Amish men, that has a fart gag that goes on way, way too long. Pee Wee also has a running screaming gag throughout the film that is used as a punchline for about four or five jokes.

To the makeup artists’ and lighting people’s credit, Paul Reubens is 63 years old, and still looks a lot like the Pee Wee of the 80’s. Facially, not that much of a difference. Physically, there is a big difference. There are so many weird jump cuts in this movie to hide the fact that Pee Wee isn’t as spry as he used to be, it becomes distracting. Pee Wee Herman used to be known as a much for his physical comedy as much he was for his famous laugh. Choosing Joe Manganiello as the weird childlike muse for Pee Wee’s journey was a also bad decision. He’s just not funny. At all. The characters that he encounters are only in each scene for two minutes maximum, they say a line, complete their gag and they’re gone. Abruptly. With no payoff.


Pee Wee’s Big Holiday is a random mess of a movie. The script is awful, the characters are not funny, Paul Reubens is too old to pull off any kind of stunt or complete any strong physical movement. Pee Wee’s Big Holiday is not even entertainingly campy, it’s just boring. It only received a small theatrical release along with its Netflix launch, but I cannot tell who the audience is for this movie. It is obviously going for the nostalgia, so possibly people over 40? But all the elements that made Pee Wee great are gone. If you want some Pee Wee Herman nostalgia please watch Pee Wee’s Big Adventure or better yet, google that great intro to Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Some things are just better left in the past.

  • Short runtime
  • Boring
  • Bad Script
  • Bad Direction

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