22 October 2013 | rooprect
Unique and bizarre experience
This is a very difficult movie to appreciate. Or it may be a very simple movie to appreciate, depending on who you are.
Have a look at the following movies, and if you see at least 1 that you really like from EACH category, then you'll probably enjoy "Big Top Pee-Wee".
CATEGORY A ----------------------------
Pee-wee's Big Adventure
CATEGORY B ----------------------------
Anything by Walt Disney
The Muppet Movie
Category A movies are fairy tales for adults. Category B movies are straightforward kid's movies. In order to appreciate "Big Top Pee-wee" you have to be ready for either. You have to expect some jokes & gags that only adults will recognize (mildly sexual, cynical or taboo: such as the cranky old lady's hilarious reference to bulimia), but overall the film takes the format of a kid's movie, with lots of cute animals, predictable slapstick and a cheerful approach, right down to the cheezy sing-song finale.
I think it's the latter--the category B "kid" content--that threw off a lot of fans. The original "Pee-wee" was an adult film packaged in a kid's presentation. But this is the opposite: a kid's film in adult clothing.
As such, the gags aren't as subtle & witty as adult comedies usually are. Like a Saturday morning kids show, "Big Top Pee-wee" comes on strong with exaggerated and hyper-enthusiastic dialogue, overt sight gags & corny action. This may turn off a lot of adults expecting the more biting, tongue-in-cheek comedy of the original Pee-wee.
All the same, there are some classic comedic moments that adults & kids alike will enjoy. The whole "I just wanted a cheese sandwich!" scene had me rolling. I also liked the 1st picnic with Winnie which could easily have been a deleted scene in the original Pee-wee. The creepy townsfolk in general, contrasted against Pee-wee's oblivious optimism, provided great entertainment. But be forewarned, these acidic gags are sparsely presented. Most of the film is straightforward silliness, suitable for kids & young minds.
Being a die-hard fan of the original film, and being a fan of adult fairy tales in general, I have a love-hate relationship with this movie and that's why I can't rate it. But I've seen it 4 times if that's any indication of how compelling it is. My gut says I shouldn't recommend it to everyone, but all the same, there will be a few of you out there who will really enjoy this flick. If you're a kid at heart, don't hesitate.