Posts Tagged ‘Paul Reubens’

Pee Wee’s Big Holiday

April 19, 2016

So I have Attention Deficit Disorder. I was diagnosed very early in first grade when I was about five or six years old. It can make it difficult to focus on certain tasks but it also makes multi-tasking so much easier. In my experience, being ADD is different from being ADHD which is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. ADHD is similar but also includes a hyperactivity component that I do not have. Why am I going on about this right now? You obviously already read the title of today’s post and the letter A was on April 1st. Well, one of my favorite shows growing up was Pee Wee’s Playhouse and it was the most ADHD thing I can think of. Paul Reubens created a character during his time with the Groundlings named Pee Wee Herman. Pee Wee is a boy who grew up to be a man but still enjoys doing a lot of stuff that kids do and didn’t exactly mature with age. Some people may have found this to be annoying but I found him to be pretty funny and the highly kinetic nature of his show was exciting. He eventually got to do some movies which captured a lot of the child-like whimsy and offbeat humor that the show had.

Unfortunately, all of that came to an end when Paul Reubens was arrested in 1991 for masturbating in an adult theater. The whole event became a media circus mostly because the media can sometimes blow things out of proportion for the sake of selling papers and getting ratings. His reputation was tarnished for doing something in public that he should not have done but was sort of understandable. He never hurt anybody but he was unfairly tried in the court of public opinion and cast aside. However, he eventually started to make his comeback as an actor. He revived his stage show in 2010 (on which his television show and movies were based) and is now finally making another movie over twenty years after Pee Wee’s Playhouse went off the air. As I got older, I became even more fascinated with the show and movies. The character still resonates with me because he represents that child-like energy and wonder that I strive to hold onto in my life. Paul Reubens is also a great comedic mind and I am always interested to see what he has going on next.

First, the movie is not connected to any previous incarnation of the character. That means it is not connected to the Pee Wee Herman Show, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure or Big Top Pee Wee. All of those were excellent but this movie was made nearly thirty years after Big Top Pee Wee so it’s actually the perfect time to throw out continuity. Besides, the character never was incredibly consistent within its story. However, the movie does have one actress from Pee Wee’s Playhouse and four actors from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure in it playing different roles as a nice easter egg for fans. In fact, the feel of the movie is kind of similar to Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. It is a road picture where the main character takes a journey and must overcome a lot of obstacles to reach his destination. The overall arc is that it’s ok to leave your comfort zone and challenge yourself with new places and experiences. If you don’t take chances, you could miss out on what makes life worth living.

Even though all of his history was erased, it really felt like the character of Pee Wee had matured somewhat. While he did use all of his famous catchphrases and mannerisms, he also used a lot more subtle humor and commentary. The timing on certain things felt a little tighter than his previous movies and the movie felt like it flowed better. Pee Wee has a certain selfless selfishness to his character making him react certain ways in different conditions. At first, it was a strange concept but then I realized that most human beings are willing to act selflessly until they hit a limit and then they turn 180 degrees to protect their interests. I love the character of Pee Wee and the cartoon-like reality that follows him around as well. It also does not hurt that I do not find his voice annoying even though I can imagine some do.

While Paul Reubens is great in this movie, he’s joined by a lot of other very funny actors. The big one is Joe Manganiello who I was not really familiar with since I have not watched True Blood or Magic Mike yet. Manganiello is really funny as a fictionalized version of himself. By the end of the movie I was really impressed with his comedy skills and he ended up working really well with Reubens. Of course, most of the charm of this movie comes from watching Pee Wee interacting with a whole crowd of characters throughout the movie. They were all really well-written characters, mostly akin to improv comedy characters. I have to say though that my favorite were Stephanie Beatriz, Alia Shawkat and Jessica Pohly who played a parody of characters from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. I found myself smiling a lot as I watched it but it wasn’t exactly a laugh out loud kind of comedy for me but Pee Wee never was. I enjoyed just about every minute and I would probably watch it again if I did not have so many other things I want to watch. I recommend you check it out, it is not just a nostalgic cash-in, it stands alone. Also, if you are a Pee Wee fan then it definitely compares well with his previous work.

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