Big Top Pee-Wee Review
By Christopher Null
If there's a lower form of comedy than circus humor I've yet to encounter it.
This wholly unnecessary sequel puts our beloved Pee-wee Herman in the circus, where he encounters the usual collection of oddballs (bearded lady, clowns, strongman, and mimes galore) plus manages to swing himself into a love triangle btween Penelope Ann Miller's Winnie and trapeze artist Gina (Valeria Golino). Both go ga-ga over Herman and, ignoring his talking pig sidekick, they duel over his affections, circus style. Kris Kristofferson leads the troupe with barely disguised shame.
Big Top Pee-wee's main flaw is that it isn't funny, ever. The jokes are juvenile and stale as week-old crackers. Herman's magic, on display so aptly in his Big Adventure, is nowhere to be found in this limp sequel. Director Randal Kleiser directed Grease in 1978, and his career slid ever since, all the way to Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. This entry is just another notch in a slipping series of misfires.
Give the Big Top a pass. If you must, save the money you'd spend on the DVD and go to the real circus instead.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 22nd July 1988
Box Office Worldwide: $15.1M
Distributed by: Paramount Home Video
Production compaines: Paramount Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes: 35%
Fresh: 7 Rotten: 13
Cast & Crew
Starring: Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman, Penelope Ann Miller as Winnie, Kris Kristofferson as Mace Montana, Valeria Golino as Gina Piccolapupula, Benicio del Toro as Duke the Dog-Faced Boy, Wayne White as Vance the Pig (voice), Susan Tyrrell as Midge Montana, Albert Henderson as Mr. Ryan, Jack Murdock as Otis, David Byrd as Deke, Mary Jackson as Mrs. Dill, Frances Bay as Mrs. Haynes, Leo Gordon as Joe the Blacksmith (as Leo V. Gordon), Anne Seymour as Pearl, Kenneth Tobey as Sheriff, Jay Robinson as Cock, Stephanie Hodge as Mermaid