'Pee-Wee's Big Holiday' Debuts To Mixed Reviews

Luke Norris

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.

"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."

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

"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."

"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."

"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."
"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

[Image via Netflix]

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