Review: Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, on Netflix

The cast and crew of Pee-wee’s Big Holiday held a big-screen premiere party at one of the biggest parties in America — Austin’s SXSW festival — on Thursday night, even though everyone everywhere could watch the first Pee-wee Herman movie in a quarter-century from the comfort of wherever thanks to Netflix come morning.

They’re right to celebrate.

As I wrote in my review of Pee-wee’s Big Holiday for my friends at “In this era of peak nostalgia — where the children of the 1990s demanded more Full House and they got it (and are going to keep getting it dude) and where J.J. Abrams forced it upon himself to reawaken Star Wars as the children of the 1970s had remembered it — it’s perhaps more amazing how well Pee-wee Herman has endured.”

This film about friendship provides Pee-wee (Paul Reubens) with the potential for both romance (Alia Shawkat, as a bank robber with a special connection to Pee-wee) and bromance (with Joe Manganiello, playing, well, himself!).

Here’s another excerpt from my review:

Manganiello portrays the most playful, imaginative version of himself. Amazed at how he connects with Pee-wee, and even more amazed at how Pee-wee has never heard of him — “Magic Mike?” he asks, to which Pee-wee replies coyly, “You’d think so. But no.” — Manganiello invites Pee-wee to leave Fairville for a holiday to attend his birthday party in New York City.

Are you going to stay where you are, or live a little? It’s a rhetorical question, for the needs of the plot, the title, and us as an audience demand that Pee-wee live a lot more than a little. And so he does. Bank robbers, farmer’s daughters, snake farms, big hair salon buses, helicopter wigs, flying cars, grand rapids, cave men, the Amish, and balloon noises all join in Pee-wee’s holiday hijinks.

Read my full review of Pee-wee’s Big Holiday on, then watch the movie on Netflix.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →