A fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first holiday ever in this epic story of friendship and destiny.A fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first holiday ever in this epic story of friendship and destiny.A fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first holiday ever in this epic story of friendship and destiny.
Pee-Wee Herman has never left the small town of Fairville, but after meeting actor Joe Manganiello (playing himself in a hilarious self aware performance), he's convinced to head East on a journey to New York for Joe's birthday party. Along the way he meets an assortment of colorful characters that help break him out of his sheltered existence.
The makeup department deserves an Emmy or Oscar (or whatever awards Netflix movies qualify for) for the job they did to Paul Reubens. The man is 63, and in real life, looks about his age. But in this film he only looks slightly older than he did back in the 80s. His voice has gotten a little bit raspier, but that's to be expected. Reubens himself is back in character, fully committed (surprisingly he hasn't been yet), and giving it his all.
The supporting cast is also consistently wonderful. Similar to any other Pee-Wee Herman project, almost all the characters, whether they're harboring deep secrets or not, smile and wave, giving off that 50s Leave it to Beaver "everything is great" attitude. Every performance is over the top, but they're all perfect. Diane Salinger from Big Adventure returns, this time playing a kooky pilot, and she gives it her all in a manic and memorable cameo. Character actor Hal Landon Jr. is similarly insane as a farmer that is simultaneously sheltering his nine daughters and trying to marry them off to strangers.
The biggest fault in the film is that it feels somewhat disconnected. The locations Pee-Wee ends up in are all amusing, but at times it just seems like a series of scenes not really leading to Pee-Wee's final goal. On the plus side, at times when the plot seems to really be getting lost, Pee-Wee mentions again where he's going, and how far he has to go bringing it back on track. In general, the journey to Joe's party and to find himself, is not as compelling as Pee- Wee's journey to find his bike. It would be much easier not to compare Big Adventure and Big Holiday, if they hadn't clearly modeled the latter on the former.
Kids will enjoy it for it's over the top cartoonish qualities, and the adult Pee-Wee fans will enjoy the exact same thing, in addition to all the ironic winks at the audience that the kids don't notice. If you're a fan of Pee-Wee Herman at all, then this will be a treat for you. It looks to the first feature film for guidance, but Holiday is it's own unique movie, full of the typical quirky charms you would expect from Paul Reubens. The best moments here don't equal the fun climax of Big Adventure, but it's still consistently amusing, never boring, and at times laugh out loud funny. And it's a heck of a lot more charming than Big Top Pee-Wee.
My rating: *** out of ****. Contains mild language and some mild sexual innuendos.
- Mar 18, 2016