Big Top Pee-wee

Critics Consensus

Its endearingly oddball lead character gives it his all, but Big Top Pee-Wee simply lacks the whimsical magic of its predecessor.

35%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

30%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 30,013

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Big Top Pee-wee Photos

Movie Info

Playful Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) operates a fantastical farm with talking animals and hot-dog trees. One day, after a giant tornado hits, Pee-wee finds a circus has landed in his yard. He befriends the manager, Mace Montana (Kris Kristofferson), and develops a crush on a trapeze performer (Valeria Golino), even though he already has a fiancée (Penelope Ann Miller). Pee-wee tries to excite the town about the new circus, but most of the residents want it gone and harass Pee-wee because of it.

Cast & Crew

Paul Reubens
Pee-wee Herman
Valeria Golino
Gina Piccolapupula
Susan Tyrrell
Midge Montana
Danny Elfman
Original Music
Steven Poster
Cinematographer
Jeff Gourson
Film Editor
Stephen Marsh
Production Design
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Critic Reviews for Big Top Pee-wee

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (13)

Audience Reviews for Big Top Pee-wee

  • Nov 23, 2014
    Taking a bizarre and inexplicable turn, Big Top Pee-Wee has no connection to either the first film or the television series. Set in the 1940s (or thereabouts), a tornado hurls a traveling circus onto the farm of Pee-Wee Herman, who takes them in and offers them food and shelter. The tone of the film is remarkably un-Pee-Wee Herman-ish, having almost none of the trademark elements that the character is known for. And, the circus is rather uninteresting and pretty rote, with the typical fare; a beaded woman, a human cannon, etc., etc. However, the cast isn't that bad and features Kris Kristofferson, Penelope Ann Miller, and Valeria Golino (in her big screen debut). Though it has a good heart, Big Top Pee-Wee is a weird mixture of things that just don't go together.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2011
    Not my favorite Pee-Wee, that's for sure. Even though Valeria is a babe, watching Pee-Wee make out with her is creepy. I miss him being my a-sexual friend. The story is a good one, who doesn't want to join the circus?!
    Alexis N Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2010
    This movie was a horrible follow up to the awesome original Pee-wee movie. If only they could have got Burton back to direct it... of course he was busy making other great movies like Beetlejuice. This one has a ridiculous story and doesn't feel in touch with what you've gotten to know of Pee-Wee's world. I hated it.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Aug 14, 2009
    In this sequel to the classic Big Adventure film Pee Wee (for some reason) decides to move to a dusty old town that looks like a 1947 time-capsule and is inhabited by hateful, old farts. After a violent storm one night the circus (for some reason) washes up on his farm and from there the film just kind of shifts into idle and coasts blandly until the end, in a series of generic circus hi-jinks and weird romantic encounters. Frankly the films' problems exist at the script level. The whole concept was poorly thought out and executed. In Big Adventure Pee Wee's motivation was simple but effective; to get back his bike. The straight-forward premise then allowed the character to be taken from one place to another in fairly rapid succession, all the while letting each unique situation show a different side of him. The road story was also perfect for quickly establishing what Pee Wee is all about; a grown man who cherishes a bicycle more than anything else in his life. It's sweet, it's something we can relate to in one way or another, but it's also very bizarre. Pee Wee is all of those things. Big Top doesn't take him anywhere, it only thrusts him awkwardly into a love story that is completely unwarranted given his emphatic rejections of Dottie in the first movie. "I like you, Dottie, LIKE!... I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel." So whoever decided it would be a brilliant idea to build an entire narrative around Pee Wee Herman having a love-life was totally missing the point of the character.
    Brett W Super Reviewer

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