‘Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday’ Debuts To Mixed Reviews

Pee-Wee Herman is back.

It’s been 28 years since Paul Reubens’ alter ego, Pee-Wee Herman, last appeared in a feature film, 1988’s Big Top Pee-Wee…that is, until this past Friday’s Netflix release, Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday.

The Apatow Productions film summarized the film on IMBD with the following description. “A fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny.”The film has a very respectable 76 percent audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but there are some critics out there that haven’t been overly kind to Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday.

'Pee Wee's Big Holiday' Debuts To Mixed Reviews
[Image via Netflix]
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times seemed to like parts of Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, but thought that the comedy just fell a little flat.

“Perhaps the intention of Reubens and his co-writer Paul Rust, and the director John Lee, was to create a bizarro, freakish road movie, in which Pee-wee is actually the most normal person. At times Pee-wee’s ingenious methods of dealing with one trippy encounter after another are pretty funny; just as often, sequences die on the vine.

“Pee-wee is still a startling and original and strangely endearing creation. He just deserved a funnier, more intriguing holiday.”

Rafer Guzman of Newsday didn’t enjoy the film quite as much as Roeper seemed to.

“A disappointing rehash of Pee-wee’s 1985 film debut. Netflix subscribers may find it skim-worthy.

“Reubens is energetic and looks impressively ageless, but he seems to be playing a part rather than channeling his inner child. There is only one moment in Pee-wee’s Big Holiday when he recaptures his strange magic. It comes when Pee-wee entertains a crowd by blowing up a balloon and then, in real time, squeezing its nozzle to create irritating noises until the last dribble of air is gone. It’s a great routine — bizarre, daring and inexplicably funny. If only that balloon could stay full forever.”

Roger Moore of Movie Nation really wanted to like it, but just couldn’t bring himself to do so.

“It’s not much of a movie, frankly. But our good will goes a long way where Pee Wee’s concerned. Herman appreciation is like love for Tinker Belle. If you want to like it enough, you will.”

'Pee Wee's Big Holiday' Debuts To Mixed Reviews
[Image via Netflix]
However, there have also been some very positive reviews for Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, including one from Nigel M. Smith ofThe Guardian.

“The film plays like nirvana for Pee-wee fans…

“The many bizarre encounters he makes on his way to the Big Apple are generally amusing, thanks to the game cast (Alia Shawkat makes a lasting impression as a sexy female burglar) and Pee-wee’s always impressionable nature.”

David Wiegand of The San Francisco Chronicle agrees.

“It’s that carefully tiered balance of interpretative possibilities that makes Pee-wee’s Big Holiday potentially appealing to audiences of all ages.

“The real genius of Paul Reubens is not just that he can make that same moment seem innocent and fun to a child, and slightly naughty to an adult: It’s that, in very little time, the adult lets go of the slightly naughty thought and allows him or herself to become a child again.

“After all these years — his and ours — Pee-wee Herman is still a Peter Pan who can lead us back to innocence with a corny joke or a childish jape.”

Felix Vasquesz, Jr. of Cinema Crazed was very impressed as well.

“Overall, Pee Wee’s Big Holiday is a fine addition to Pee-Wee Herman’s series of cinematic adventures that embraces modern comedy without going overboard or trying too hard to pander to younger audiences. I enjoyed the mix of nostalgia, surrealism, and genuine nuts storytelling that Reubens and director Lee provide long time fans.”

What was your take on Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday? Please, feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

[Image via Netflix]

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