So, Netflix just released their original film Pee Wee’s Big Holiday today, a new movie in the long-dormant Pee Wee Herman series of movies. Paul Reubens is back playing Pee Wee (which is both happy and sad).
This isn’t an unwelcome movie and its good-natured and cute but it can’t hold a candle to Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (though it is better than Big Top Pee Wee). It’s essentially a series of vignettes as Pee Wee makes his way across the country to New York. Which was basically what the first film was, I suppose, though that had a better through-line of finding his bike. In this film, small-town Pee Wee runs into big-time (?) actor Joe Manganiello (played by actor Joe Manganiello from True Blood and Magic Mike) and they hit it off because Joe is just that cool and exactly like Pee Wee in every other way. Joe asks Pee Wee to his birthday party in New York City… but Pee Wee has never left his small town (which might be a joke since he clearly went on a Big Adventure but, if it’s meant to be a joke, it never acknowledges it).
I laughed a few times in appreciation of the various weird encounters Pee Wee has. He visits a Snake Farm (he hates snakes), runs into some bank robbing bullet-bra’ed, switch-blade wielding ladies out of a Russ Meyer film, the Amish, a farm full of farmer’s daughters, and ultimately NYC… some of these bits are better than others and some made me laugh a bit. But, ultimately, not enough of was funny enough and a lot if felt pretty flat film-making wise (they could have really used Tim Burton’s weird sensibilities since they meshed so well with Pee Wee’s).
I’d say check it out if you liked Pee Wee in the past – it’s basically free if you have Netflix so it can’t hurt. I just wish it had been a better film and a funnier flick. But it ain’t bad.