If you liked Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, you’ll like this
by Martin Hafer
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday is the latest film made specifically for Netflix and it’s debuted this weekend. After seeing it, I think that if you loved Paul Rubens’ first starring film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, you’ll love this picture as well. And, if Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is not your idea of fun, you’ll find this one tough viewing. As for me, I enjoyed it and thought it was a very amiable film… and not a lot more. But, in my case, I think that’s enough.
The style of the film is pretty much the same as in the previous film… Pee-wee leaves his small town and goes on a journey across America. Along the way, he has a variety of adventures, meets some nice people and brightens up the lives of most everyone he meets. Why would he leave his town? Because he’s just met the movie star Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike) and the pair instantly bond and become friends…and Joe has invited Pee-wee to his giant birthday party in New York. But Pee-Wee has to overcome his fear of leaving town for the first time in his life…which means, incidentally, that Pee-wee has absolutely no recollection whatsoever of the first film!
This Apatow-Rubens Production is pleasant viewing, and the best thing about the film is its wonderful sense of style. Pee-Wee’s hometown is retro in every way… sort of like a 1950s TV series in real life. Everyone is nice, the cars are all gorgeous 50s models and there is a very, very strong sense of nostalgia. Pee-wee is, well, Pee-wee…and if you like his shtick from his previous two starring films (he also made the less than famous Big Top Pee-Wee), you’ll enjoy this as well. The only things I didn’t like is that the film, while enjoyable, took very few risks. It’s essentially his first (and best) film all over again in many ways. Also, there’s a sequence involving balloons and the Amish that goes on a bit too long. But otherwise, it’s a nice film for the family–parents who enjoy Pee-Wee and kids who can’t help but like the guy. Will it change your life? Not in the least…but it’s nice, enjoyable and worth your time.