SXSW Film Review: Pee-wee’s Big Holiday

The laugh. The hair. The bowtie. After a 25+ year absence, Pee-wee Herman is back and bringing the laughs once again. The quirky character known for his ideallic 50s-esque humor designed for both children and adults is back with “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” thanks to the support of Judd Apatow and Netflix.

Paul Reubens, the star of the Pee-wee Herman franchise debuted his character’s return to a standing ovation at a SXSW world premiere before the film’s subsequent release on Netflix at midnight that same evening. Reubens, was visibly emotional from the positive reaction and rightly so. It was quite the journey to return to this character and like Pee-wee’s journey in this film to step outside of his comfort zone by embracing a new, wider world, so was Reubens doing the same with this picture.Screenshot_2016-03-18-02-11-42-1

For fans of the original character, you will not be disappointed. This film hits on all the nostalgia notes while also embracing new humor and trends. Joe Manganiello as himself is of particular delight with his more timely jokes about starring in “Magic Mike” and “True Blood”.

The plot of the film is a bit ridiculous, but that’s kind of the point and it’s all the more fun because the movie knows how to laugh at itself. In “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure”, Pee-wee Herman sets out on a cross country journey to attend a special event in New York after a chance encounter in Pee-wee’s diner. The visitor who prompts Pee-wee’s trip bonds with him over a mutual love of root beer barrel candies among other things.

Along the way, Pee-wee encounters a trio of bank robbers, the Amish and more, each widening his world view and offering more chances for laughter. My personal favorite movements are the dream sequences featuring Pee-wee and co-star Joe Manganiello.

It’s a sweet and endearing film that the now adult fans of the old Pee-wee franchise will love introducing to their kids. “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” is available on Netflix now.

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