Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (2016)

pee-wees big holiday poster 2016 movie netflix
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun throwback to old Pee-wee

Pacing/jokes might be too slow for newer viewers

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Pee-wee’s Big Holiday

Studio:  Apatow Productions

Genre(s):  Comedy

Release Date(s):  March 18, 2016

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Best. Birthday. Ever.

Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) is caught in a rut.  His band the Renegades is breaking up, and he spends his days as a successful fry-cook at the local diner in his small city…but Pee-wee is not happy.  When actor Joe Manganiello comes to town, Pee-wee finds a kindred spirit and makes an immediate connection.  Unfortunately, Joe is only passing through and an invitation to Joe’s birthday party in New York City means Pee-wee has an opportunity for change.  Pee-wee is leaving his safe-zone for the first time and hitting the road for adventure!

Directed by John Lee and written by Paul Reubens and Paul Rust, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday was released on Netflix on March 18, 2016.  The film brought back Pee-wee Herman after his last film Big Top Pee-wee in 1988.

I love Pee-wee Herman.  Both Pee-wee’s Playhouse and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure were great…Big Top Pee-wee not so much.  This movie was a long time coming.  It was stuck in development hell for years and didn’t show any hope until Judd Apatow agreed to produce it.  Pee-wee’s Big Holiday brings back the spirit of the original shows and leaves me loving Pee-wee again.


Rob the Amish….these are career criminals!

The story of the movie very much follows story of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure with Pee-wee’s bike being replaced by Joe Manganiello.  The quest to go to Joe’s party leads him to encounter weird and odd people throughout the United States including a trio of female bank robbers in the look and style of B-Movies like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!   The jokes surround the absurd and often are sight-gags or just timing gags, but they really work here…mostly due to Pee-wee himself.

After Paul Reubens’ fall from grace, it was hard to market a movie for kids starring a guy who was caught in a porn theater exposing himself.  Paul Reubens continues to keep Pee-wee’s childlike zeal for those he encounters, and everyone cast in the film seems to play along with the idea…which is necessary for the film to work.  The acting is often over-the-top and wooden, but it is acceptable because of the style of the film.  It was fun to see Pee-wee’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure “love” Simone (Diane Salinger) make an appearance as Penny King.


Hey Simone, I mean Penny, want to look at dinosaurs and talk about France?

Just like Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, the movie is very candy-colored and visual.  He does stuff with bad green-screen shooting but it is intentionally bad (like the flying car).  On his trip across the country, Pee-wee shows Americana type locations, but I was rather impressed that the movie did shoot in New York City for Pee-wee’s arrival (often it seems that shows just use a cheap stand-in of any street).  The goofy appearance of Pee-wee in all these scenes just meshes with the style.

Pee-wee’s Big Holiday is just fun, and I hope that the fun continues.  Before this film was made, there was talk about making two Pee-wee films and having one have the adult style of the original stage show of Pee-wee’s Playhouse.  I would love to see this or any other Pee-wee film be played…let’s hope Pee-wee’s Big Holiday leads to this, and Pee-wee finds a whole new generation.

Related Links:

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Big Top Pee-wee (1988)

Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special (1988)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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