Lean back and let the silliness wash over you – the red bowtie has returned.
Pee-wee Herman. Say what you will about this character or actor Paul Reubens, but Pee-wee remains almost univerhesally beloved by adults of a certain age. Now that he’s updated for 2016, did his famous red bike turn into a hoverboard? Does he vape while laughing at memes? Nope, this movie is sans vape pens. Pee-wee stays true to what made him unique, exuding relentless positivity like he brought the 1980’s boom economy back with him.
If you were living under your pet rock that decade, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure was one of the quintessential 80’s movie. It was widely acclaimed, and presented the world with a very memorable tequila dance:
Paul Reubens has stayed somewhat active in entertainment. After Big Top Pee-wee, however, we hadn’t had anything substantial from our favorite grey suit wearing character besides a Broadway show and some late night appearances.
That all changes when Netflix releases Pee-wee’s Big Holiday on March 18th. I had a chance to see it, and let me reassure you that the movie is packed with the same old Pee-wee we know and love. One who plays well in 2016, but still interacts with people like no time has passed since his original film debut.
Pee-wee is still into the same, classic bits.
That film’s deft combination of old and new might be because it was a joint effort by Reubens himself, Paul Rust, and Judd Apatow. Apatow and Rust also collaborated for Love, another Netflix release that’s about as millennial as it gets. Paul Rust’s character in Love probably hates Pee-wee Herman.
While Rust does cameo in Big Holiday, he and Apatow do not hold Pee-wee back from shining brightly in his old way, nor do they force him to cater to an overly youthful audience. While the movie certainly can be enjoyed by kids, it’s not because Pee-wee is referencing Minecraft or other “dope” things “the youths” like.
The film’s supporting casts shines as well – Joe Manganiello plays someone who helps Pee-wee get far out of his comfort zone.
Just like we see in the trailer, Pee-wee declares, “you know I don’t want to go anywhere or try anything new.” That is, until he sees Manganiello walk into the diner where he works. They slam frosty chocolate shakes and trade life stories, which is when Pee-wee realizes that he’s been missing out.
His life has been pretty one-note (so similar, that he’s able to set up that Rube Goldberg machine we saw in the trailer to get himself ready every morning. I mean, the hours that must take!), and he’s had enough. Pee-wee saddles up his trusty, tiny car and hits the open road.
Jessica Pohly, Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat, and Brooklyn 99’s Stephanie Beatriz play damsels that put Pee-wee into a tough situation.
Pee-wee does his best to hold his own with these ladies, and it’s a treat to see him stay true to himself even when challenged by unfamiliar, outside forces. These aren’t Goodfellas-style bankrobbers. Every character exists in the Pee-wee universe, and commits to their role with all-out goofiness. I won’t spoil the adventures he gets into, or the people he meets, but suffice it to say that Pee-wee definitely has a big holiday.
All in all, if you can re-connect with your inner goof, this is a movie that’s worth your time.
The “golden age of television” has ushered in a ton of shows that try to out-do each other in grittiness or complexity. Maybe they require 4 seasons of viewing and heavy studying of the associated Wikipedia page. Pee-wee’s Big Holiday is a welcome return to simplicity. And it’s on Netflix!
So when you need a break from Jessica Jones, Peaky Blinders, or the even the more intense parts of Bojack Horseman, let yourself have one! Pee-wee will be there to transport you back to a place where good-spirited hijinks will ensue. And this movie will hit you with a Cabazon dinosaur load of hijinks!