Circus Life

Big Top Pee-wee doesn’t make the big time. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure was so surreal that it had to become a cult favorite. The more kid friendly Pee-wee’s Playhouse soon followed. Big Top Pee-wee takes the Muppets approach of Paul Reubens placing the character in different situations with little to do with the previous movie. The only similarities are a different Danny Elfman score and a brief callback to the “Tequila” dance. Now Pee-wee Herman is a farmer with a talking pig and love for agriculture who invents a hot dog tree.

I know Pee-wee isn’t dumb, but scientific study feels like a stretch. Just like it’s a stretch to give him two beautiful love interests. Despite his childlike demeanor and constantly turning down Dottie in the last movie, Pee-wee has a fiancรฉe named Winnie played by Penelope Ann Miller. Most of the plot revolves around a circus that blows into his backyard. The pace is slower and somehow the circus doesn’t even feel imaginative. There are clowns, little people, strongmen, acrobats, and bearded ladies.

Kris Kristofferson is the ringleader, but it’s even stranger to know this was Benicio del Toro’s film debut as a dog-faced boy. The lovely Italian Valeria Golino is trapeze artist Gina who earns Pee-wee’s affection as well. Pee-wee’s boring town finds their inner child and the circus is saved. Big Top Pee-wee lacks the novelty of Tim Burton as the director. Sure Randal Kleiser directed Grease, but that doesn’t help how lazily bizarre the sequel ended up being. Big Top Pee-wee isn’t as fun as it sounds.

Big Top Pee-wee

Pee-wee Herman and Vance the pig

Preceded by: Pee-wee’s Big Adventure & Followed by: Pee-wee’s Big Holiday

5 thoughts on “Circus Life

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