REVIEW: Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (2016)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (2016), a Netflix Original Film.

The character ‘Pee-wee Herman’ was a comedic hit primarily in the 1980s. By releasing a film starring Paul Reubens’ Pee-wee Herman, Netflix were hoping to cash in on the heavy pull of nostalgia. While I’m sure that worked for a lot of people, that would never work for me with this character. I had never seen anything with Pee-wee Herman. I didn’t grow up with the character. I might’ve seen what the character looks like before, but I didn’t know what I was getting into when I sat down to watch it… But I had a lot of fun with this film. 

Pee-wee’s Big Holiday follows Pee-wee Herman (played by Paul Reubens) who realizes that he isn’t going anywhere in life. He needs to live a little. Then, one day, Joe Manganiello (playing ‘himself’) walks into Dan’s Diner, and it turns out that Pee-wee and Joe have a bit in common. Herman loves meeting this new friend, and soon Joe challenges Pee-wee into changing his ways by leaving Fairville and traveling to New York City for Manganiello’s birthday.

I don’t think you’ll think about this film for very long, but you can definitely have a good time with it. I had never seen anything containing Herman before – at least not that I remember – and therefore I feel comfortable stating that you can definitely jump right into this film and have a good time.

There are a couple of things that may go over your head. One scene that I got nothing out of was the scene in the beginning where Pee-wee chats with a girl about the book club and the library. I assume that’s a reference to something, but I certainly didn’t get it. There are a lot of amusing scenes in the film, and I, particularly, had fun with the scenes on the farm. My favorite part of the film was when Pee-wee interacted with Joe Manganiello, who seemed to have been dosed with some The Fonz-magic in Dan’s Diner. I am a big fan of Manganiello, and I wish he would have been in more scenes.

Pee-wee’s Big Holiday isn’t an amazing film, and I wouldn’t even say that it is particularly strong. But I have to say that I was smiling for most of the film. It features a joyous main character, and it is a delightful little comedy. I liked the musical score a lot, and I liked what the film was going for. Don’t just skip it, if you’ve never heard of Pee-wee. There’s a lot of fun to be had in the 90 minute comedy, which may leave you as pleasantly surprised as I was.

6.5 out of 10

– I’m Jeffrey Rex

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