Pee-Wee's Big Holiday Review
Before we begin, let me say that the most I have ever seen of anything related to Pee-Wee Herman was a parody I saw on Family Guy many seasons ago and a dance he did in some movie or show on YouTube in college. I certainly know Paul Reubens and I certainly know Pee-Wee Herman, but I am not an encyclopedia on the character. I haven't had the pleasure of getting in on the rest of what makes Pee-Wee the characters he is. I was drawn to this by sheer curiosity and I am kind of drawn to the way Netflix is changing how we get our movies right now. So I thought I'd give this a try. But I was as cold turkey as cold turkey could get.
I am sure there were several references that went over my head. I am sure there were in-jokes and call backs I simply did not get. But suffice it to say, I actually enjoyed myself. As the film begins, it swan-dives right into the deliriously goofy, but I was having a good time pretty much all throughout the movie. Some parts got a little repetitive, and it certainly stretches the tolerance of the ticking clock device we see a lot in movies. But overall, the good outweighs the bad here, which is what I look for every time I sit down for a movie.
When we meet Pee-Wee in this movie he is down on his luck. He loves his hometown Fairville very much, but its the same life every day. He loves his job at the diner, but it seems to consume his life. He loves his band that he is apart of, but they break up due to the other members moving on with their lives. Pee-Wee finds himself in a rut and he doesn't know how to get out of it. Then one day when the diner is empty, Joe Manganiello walks in. I would tell you the character he is playing, but he isn't playing one. This is Joe Manganiello playing Joe Manganiello. The two quickly become friends and Manganiello invites Pee-Wee to his birthday party in New York City in five days. Pee-Wee is hesitant to leave, but Manganiello gets him to break his old mold and try something new. He also emphasizes going the open road instead of flying. This leads to adventures with female bandits, Amish people, salesmen, snack museums and a peculiar farmer.
The film goes out of its way to set up the ticking clock device, and I think because of this, the movie has some shaky foundation. Pee-Wee runs into several misadventures that could make him miss his deadline. But if he were to simply fly to New York, we wouldn't have a movie. I understand the need, but the execution is sloppy. But there are enough delightful laughs and funny situations that I think made up for the flimsy set up.
Whatever people liked about Paul Reubens as Pee-Wee I am sure will shine loud and clear here. There is a certain attitude and style that comes with Pee-Wee and I understood that even though I have never seen a previous movie. I think Reubens has done a good job creating that, and it shows in this movie. Many actors spend their entire careers becoming a certain character and Reubens has certainly found his knitch. I don't know if we will see more of these on Netflix, but if we do, I will look into it again.
FINAL GRADE: B