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Big Top Pee-Wee (1988)

Paul Reubens , Penelope Ann Miller , Randal Kleiser  |  PG |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)

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Big Top Pee-Wee Big Top Pee-Wee 3.7 out of 5 stars (84)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Reubens, Penelope Ann Miller, Kris Kristofferson, Valeria Golino, Wayne White
  • Directors: Randal Kleiser
  • Writers: Paul Reubens, George McGrath
  • Producers: Paul Reubens, Debra Hill, Richard Gilbert Abramson, William E. McEuen
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: July 6, 2004
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000228ECM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,667 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Big Top Pee-Wee" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When a storm blows an entire circus into farmer Pee Wee's yard, he finds an important use for his secret botanical experiments, and falls in love.
Genre: Feature Film-Comedy
Rating: PG
Release Date: 9-AUG-2005
Media Type: DVD

There's nothing wrong with Randall Kleiser's Big Top Pee-Wee that Pee-Wee's Big Adventure director Tim Burton wouldn't be able to fix. Take the scene in which entwined farmer and botanist Pee-Wee and ravishing circus performer Gina (Valeria Golina) blissfully ponder the shapes of the clouds. One can only imagine the wondrous forms Burton would have animated in the heavens. In Kleiser's sequel, they are mere cumulus. A talking pig and a sympathetic gallery of outcast circus performers (including a young Benicio Del Toro as the Dog-Faced Boy) notwithstanding, Big Top squanders much of the first film's magic and goodwill. Blame it on the script, which places arrested adolescent Pee-Wee in a small town that is unaccountably hostile to him. Blame it on Paul Rubens, who, perhaps rebelling against his own iconic creation, puts Pee-Wee in some disquieting libido-fueled situations, such as jumping his schoolteacher girlfriend Winnie (Penelope Ann Miller). "The children," Winnie fights him off as her class looks on. Indeed. --Donald Liebenson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars pee wee's first major dissapointment May 30, 2007
paul reubens character was one of the greatest comedic events of our time.. From the early variety show, to the playhouse, to the big adventure - pee wee could not lose.. I remember seeing big top pee wee in the theatre - and feeling very dissapointed with a movie that was just not very fun or interesting.. Whereas 'pee wee's big adventure' explored more of pee wees quirkiness (remember the scene with the tape in the bathroom) 'big top pee wee' tried to take the character move him to a different setting and make a sort of romantic comedy.. This is probably where it all falls apart.. pee wee should not be a romantic figure - he is the opposite.. he is best when he remains a sort of neuter or man child.. the second romance enters the picture.. pee wee loses all of his charm and comedy.. there are a few funny moments in big top pee wee but on the whole it falls flat.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Big Top Loser December 22, 2011
By Guitaro
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I can't believe this unfunny awful movie compared to PWs Big Adventure. It's like watching Aliens then Alien 3.

It's like what just happened??
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lighten Up! January 29, 2004
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Granted, Big Top Pee Wee does not promise the type of guffaw humor we enjoyed in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, but it is a really good movie. The humor is a bit more mature. This might be considered a weakness of the film on the surface. It is the immaturity of the humor that we loved so much in Big Adventure. However, having been of the target age when Big Adventure and subsequently Big Top came out, as I grew up, so did Pee-Wee.
My favorite is still the opening dream-sequence in which Pee-Wee is incognito, dressed as Abraham Lincoln to avoid his inexplicably large group of post-adolescent female fans who are waiting for him outside of the venue in which he performed his trapeze act. One fan, unaffected by the fact that a man who had been dead for almost a hundred years at that point, breathlessly asks for "Lincoln's" autograph, professing "I'm such a big fan!" Pee-Wee's phony Lincoln beard is then ripped off and the girls shriek with delight and chase after him.
This opening sequence, though not the only highlight of this campy delight, truly captures the essence of Pee-Wee humor. It is above all bizarre. But the uniqueness of Pee-Wee's world is its ability to transcend time, dimension, and most of all, logic. This was true in Pee-Wee's Playhouse and Big Adventure, but I think Big Top captures this most.
The common dream sequence as an opening scene to each movie sets the tone for each movie. When comparing the two, the dream sequence that opens Big Adventure pales in comparison. Big Top maintains the surrealistic tone of the Lincoln scene throughout the film. The circus owner's wife, Midge Montana is just a few inches tall. Innuendoes between her and her husband set the imagination free.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Sequel January 15, 2007
By M. Cole
Okay so it isn't as innocent and charming as Pee-Wee's Big Adventure but Big Top still has a place in my heart. The movie isn't really a sequel, it has none of the same characters as Big Adventure just Pee-Wee living the life of a farmer in a small town. The story depicts Pee-Wee as the town idiot in the eyes of all the other elderly citizens. With the help of a hot dog tree the story plays out and is sure to leave a smile on your face. May I also say the scene of Pee-Wee and Gina and the depiction of their actions with (fireworks, mud wrestling, and a train) may be one of the finest scenes of cinematogrophy ever* please do not watch this movie expecting the charm of Big Adventure, if you like Pee-Wee and a good comedy this may be worth a peek.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big Flop Pee-Wee October 2, 2014
I saw Big Top Pee-Wee back in 1988 and my mind did an almost complete mind dump. All I remembered was Pee-Wee was in the circus and I hated it. Having just re-watched it I can say the years have not improved it one iota and now Amazon has afforded me the forum to finally vent so here I go.

It's never really spelled out what exactly Pee-Wee Herman is. Is he an immature man-child or literally a child being played by an adult actor? At the end of The Pee-Wee Hermon Show on HBO he was granted the ability to fly and declared himself `the luckiest boy on Earth'. I think of Pee-Wee Herman as more of an absurdist character but in an artistic way. He isn't played overtly for laughs like Mr. Bean but more of as a surreal asexual Peter Pan like character. Pee-Wee is an adult but we can't imagine him shaving and when Dottie tries to ask Pee-Wee on a date in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure Pee-Wee shows no interest because he has the emotional (and sexual) maturity of a child. The last thing most people wanted to see was this character in a love triangle with two beautiful women. And who thought it was a good idea to give Pee-Wee a hair fetish? Paul Reubens co-wrote the story for Big Top Pee-Wee and yet it was as if he didn't even understand the character or perhaps he didn't recognize why Pee-Wee appealed to audiences.

Pee-Wee is a brilliant character but he doesn't exist in a bubble. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Pee-Wee's Playhouse work because Pee-Wee exists in his own unique artistic universe. Pee-Wee's Playhouse and his house in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure aren't just slapped together sets but are meticulously created and visually appealing. Big Adventure was a wonderful merging of the artistry of Paul Reubens and Tim Burton.
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