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Pee-Wee's Big Holiday

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Pee-Wee's Big Holiday Movie Poster Image
Zany, kid-friendly adventure welcomes old fans and new ones.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 89 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 23 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Promotes living life to the fullest: "live a little," travel, step out of your comfort zone. Values include friendship, courage, accepting differences. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Pee-Wee is friendly, generous, wonderfully inventive, and competent. The always-good people in the town of Fairville return his friendship, warmth, and humor. In this adventure, Pee-Wee is willing to "break rules" and "break hearts"; he does so but suffers mild consequences for both behaviors. Ethnically diverse. Overweight women are portrayed to elicit laughs.

Violence & Scariness

Cartoon action: a comic bank robbery and auto chase with female perpetrators who wield knives; an exuberant pillow fight; a scary moment in anticipation of a snake's appearance in a dark room at a snake farm; hitchhiking at night, a wolf howling; women falling out of a tree; a farmer pointing a shotgun at the hero; scary sounds in a forest; Pee-Wee falling into a well. No one is seriously hurt.

Sexy Stuff

Comic focus on some large-breasted female bank robbers; they have a pillow fight with hunky bare-chested men. Nine voluptuous (some overweight) women flirt with Pee-Wee.


A few mild insults: "wimp," "squirrel." One "hell."


Mention of candies: Root Beer Barrels, Charleston Chew, Skittles.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pee-Wee's Big Holiday is a welcome addition to Pee-Wee Herman's captivating collection of film fare. Almost 30 years after his last screen appearance, the innocent, inventive man-child is back with an adventure that easily stands on its own. Ideally today's audience would be familiar with Pee-Wee and his various "playhouses," but it's not necessary. If anything, this movie is more wholesome than some of the earlier ones (fewer double meanings meant for the grown-ups). The mild action and/or sexual innuendo -- a comic bank robbery with big-breasted women, a police chase, a brief confrontation with a snake, a fall into a well, a kidnapping -- are all comic, never seriously scary or suggestive, and safe for all but the youngest kids.  

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKbaker412 March 25, 2016

Not appropriate for younger kids

We had to turn this movie off with our 7&8 year olds. There's a scene where Pee-Wee is kidnapped by three big breasted women and 3 male stripper co... Continue reading
Parent Written bylefthandedink March 23, 2016

Weirdly better for smaller kids than for bigger

The silly stuff was fine, but the sexual stuff would be over the heads of little ones, but my 10 year old caught on quickly and I found it uncomfortable and ina... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old March 22, 2016


Good for 7+ Language Like [Badass, Hell, Crap, Shutup.]
Teen, 13 years old Written byFarmgirl1579 April 22, 2016


Really this show is kid frindly even I dont like this movie. It needs to be more pg-14.

What's the story?

In PEE-WEE'S BIG HOLIDAY, this "Pee-Wee" (the ageless Paul Reubens) is different. Unlike the Pee-Wee Herman we knew before, this Pee-Wee has never ventured out of his friendly, picture-perfect home town. He's more than content in Fairville, with his Rube Goldberg inventions making his home a veritable treasure chest of fun and quirkiness and his job as a short-order cook at Dan's Diner just about the best job a boy-man like Pee-Wee could have. What's more, everybody loves him. All that changes when a new guy comes to town. Joe Manganiello (as himself) and Pee-Wee are immediately fast friends, and Joe wants Pee-Wee to come to New York City for what's going to be a spectacular birthday party. At first, Pee-Wee is reluctant. He doesn't want to go anywhere, doesn't want to try anything new. But Joe is very convincing, and, in the blink of an eye, Pee-Wee is off on the road trip of his life. Encountering an astonishing assortment of Americana and eccentrics -- from buxom bank robbers to a shotgun-wielding farmer to an entire Amish village -- Pee-Wee learns the joys of breaking rules and hearts, all while making valuable new friends and finding himself in the midst of exciting adventures. Will Pee-Wee make it to Joe's Manhattan penthouse for the party? And, just as important, will Fairville be willing to welcome him back when his holiday is over?

Is it any good?

It's lucky for today's kids and nostalgic grown-up kids that superfan Judd Apatow came along to encourage Paul Reubens to bring Pee-Wee back. The character is as ageless, innocent, open-hearted, and quirky as ever -- but with a new slant. This Pee-Wee has never been anywhere; he's never experienced life outside his beloved hometown. What a wonderful opportunity this gave director John Lee and Reubens. They created a delightful road movie, with the characters and events on that road reminiscent of the gadgets that made up every Rube Goldberg invention found in Pee-Wee's Playhouse. Despite a few sluggish moments and a reliance on some dated sight gags (overweight women, buxom bank robbers), cheers are in order for all the players -- especially for the very lovable Pee-Wee himself.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film term "road movie." What is it, and what is the format? Why is it such an appealing concept? Do you have a favorite "road movie"? 

  • Think about the costumes in this film. Starting with Pee-Wee himself and running through the people he meets on his adventure, how do the costumes the filmmakers chose immediately tell you about the characters (i.e., the owners of the Snake Farm, the hairdressers, Grizzly Bear Daniels)?

  • Why did Pee-Wee's new friend Joe think it was important for him to take a "holiday" from Fairville? How does traveling, trying something new, and venturing out of our routines enrich us?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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