It’s been 28 years since Pee-wee Herman last had his own movie (1988’s Big Top Pee-wee)—and the world’s happiest man child has not lost a step. In Netflix’s Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, Paul Reubens effortlessly becomes his alter ego Pee-wee, even though he’s getting deep into his 60s.
That’s right: Pee Wee Herman is almost 64 years old. Nonetheless, he’s as nimble, joyous and fun as he was when he made his big-screen headliner debut in Tim Burton’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure 31 years ago.
The new film, produced by Judd Apatow and directed by John Lee, doesn’t quite have the visual exuberance to match Pee-wee’s bravado, but the story (written by Reubens and Paul Rust) breezes right along. Pee-wee meets a big screen movie star (Joe Manganiello of True Blood, playing himself) while working in a diner in his all-American town. The two hit it off, and Joe invites him to his big birthday bash in New York City.
This means a road trip for Pee-wee, during which he meets up with a crazy guy in the woods and a crazy lady with a flying car. He winds up at the bottom of a well, too.
While the dull production values are disappointing, Reubens elevates things so that it really isn’t that much of a problem. Plus, Pee-wee’s car is badass.
Hopefully, this will be the start of some more adventures for Pee-wee. He’s clearly still got it.
Also: Look for Lynne Marie Stewart, Simone from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, in a small but pivotal role.