Netflix Now: Pee-Wee's Big Holiday

movie poster
Forget Daredevil and The Punisher. My biggest childhood hero is back this weekend. 

I've outgrown that pesky bike.
Check out my NEW ride. 
Here I go aging myself. I remember seeing Pee-wee's Big Adventure in theaters on opening day with my cousin and my annoyed mother, shaking her head the entire time. 

Thirty years later, Pee-wee Herman returns with a straight to Netflix movie that serves as a perfect counterpart to his Big Adventure. Copying the same nerdy wit and silly tone of the original movie, Big Holiday is one of the first good PG comedies we've seen in years. With a totally goofball plot about Pee-wee once again traveling outside his hometown, audiences are expected to forget that he ever left in the first place. Yet, it doesn't matter. Big Holiday is a full dose of Reuben's big hearted man child once again thrown into a series of misadventures that pay tribute to his former years when audiences flocked to see his stage shows and movies. While recognizable characters are mostly missing from this latest voyage, Big Holiday is an innocent road trip flick that takes Mr. Herman to New York. 

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this Pee-wee movie is his appearance. What most people fail to realize is that Paul Reubens is 64 years old. We've always associated him as an overgrown kid playing with magical friends and toys. Through the use of heavy makeup, CGI, and a neck girdle, Reubens is once again transformed into looking exactly the same as he did decades ago. Through cinematic trickery, Pee-wee Herman is frozen in time, with almost no signs of aging. Reading up on how they pulled this off, Reubens says they had to manipulate each and every scene to remove skin blemishes, wrinkles, and any other signs that this man is three decades older than when we last saw him on screen. It's nothing short of amazing. 

Look!! Street walkers. We should
probably avoid them at all costs. 
Bouncing around through Fairville, all of Pee-wee's destinations and misadventures, one thing is missing from this Netflix release. The absence of Danny Elfman's music definitely takes this down a notch. Elfman's scoring always adds a distinct flair to these types of films. With Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo fame taking over musical duties on Big Adventure, something feels amiss. There are no musical cues to tie the movies together and the themes never feel dynamic and/or connected to the scenes. Instead, the score here feels rather flat and boring. Where Big Adventure had an epic flair for music, Big Holiday makes it seem like the soundtrack was just an afterthought. 

Other than a few scenes, Pee-wee's Big Holiday can be enjoyed by the entire family. Scrapping the adult oriented thematics of his stage show, this is just big dumb fun wrapped up in a package of braindead goofiness that harkens back to the '80s. There is no profanity. There are only a couple sexual innuendos. And other than a couple jump scares that are definitely rooted in the same playground as Big Adventure, there's really nothing that kids can't see in this movie. With a slick cast of characters including the self deprecating Joe Manganiello, this Holiday is a total blast. 

Bring some balloons because Pee-wee is back in a BIG way. Pillow fight!!!!

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