Movie Review: Pee-wee’s Big Holiday

Another movie I recently viewed was Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, a fun trip for me down memory lane. I was a hug fan of Pee-wee Herman when I was a child and watched both of his feature films as well as the Pee-wee’s Playhouse TV show. When I saw that Netflix had released this movie, I just had to see it.

The movie begins with Pee-wee Herman doing the usual in his hometown of Fairville. But while Pee-wee is working at the town diner, he happens to meet Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Magic Mike). The actor is playing himself and he challenges Pee-wee to finally leave his hometown and attend his birthday party in New York City. Pee-wee debates the idea but finally packs his belongings and heads out on the road. But the trip is loaded with characters, including three women bank robbers, a farmer with nine daughters looking for a husband, an aviator with a flying car, and more.

Pee-wee’s Big Holiday is not his best film, but it is still entertaining and a great piece of nostalgia. Paul Reubens returns to the role without really missing a beat. No matter what  other roles he has done, from Blow to Gotham, Reubens will always be Pee-wee Herman. Manganiello joined the cast and, although I was doubtful at first, he did a great job in the role. Scenes of him either enjoying his birthday or being depressed that Herman didn’t show were some of the best of the movie. He really surprised me as an actor as he displayed a versitile range in the character that he could play. This role was unlike anything I had seen him in before and he proved my doubts to be wrong.

As I said, this wasn’t my favorite of his movies. After this ended, I rewatched Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and remembered how good that movie was. My favorite was always Big Top Pee-wee, but it is not on Netflix so I have to get my hands on that one. But possibly the coolest part of watching this was that my 5 year old son watched with me and also became a fan. He watched the next movie also and started watching Pee-wee’s Playhouse after. What this character did was connect my childhood to my son’s own childhood and that was cool. I cannot connect with SpongeBob SquarePants or whatever else kids are watching these days. But I can sit down and watch Pee-wee Herman with him and we can both enjoy that time. That is pretty damn priceless!

Daryl Karpinski, Jr.