Nearly thirty years after the original 1985 film, Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday is as funny as you would expect from Paul Reubens’s iconic man-child. As comedy sequels go, the film hits all the nostalgia notes, while bringing a fun and new element in the form of Joe Managaniello. It’s as goofy as ever, and while it borrows many elements from the original, there’s a ton of new laughs along the way.
Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) is content in Fairview, but after falling victim to a series of unfortunate events, he’s befriended by movie star Joe Manganiello, who invites Pee-Wee to his birthday party in New York. It’s a conventional story, but it allows for a great series of gags and situations that embrace the sketch- coemdy nature of the character. While some of the gags prove ineffective, the film is so fast paced that it never loses interest, and there are even some genuine heartfelt moments at the end.
The double act of Reubens and Manganiello works very well, with Reubens seamlessly slipping back into the iconic character, and Manganiello showing his comedy chops in a self-deprecating role. It’s hardly a one-joke movie, and while it does feel strangely obscure at points, perhaps that was the intention. Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday is a solid comedy hit that serves as a worthy sequel to the original. Grade: B