After the Burton/Reubens joint & the gleeful anarchy of the Playhouse comes the flat sequel that misses the magic & whimsical energy that Pee Wee normally provides. But despite a solid beginning, the "realism" just doesn't work as Reubens makes his character "grow up." I can understand the need for romance & bigger stakes, but the last thing you want to do in a Pee Wee adventure is check your watch.
The decision to make Pee-wee sexually aware was both strange and ill-conceived. It doesn't work. That said, the broader commentary on small town persecution/xenophobia/the marginalisation of the outsider is more successful, while the circus setting and its notion of community is perfect. If it fails due to the lack of a satisfying conclusion, it should still score points for Steven Poster's beautiful cinematography.
Pretty much all the magic and whimsy have been sucked dry in this lame sequel to the 'Big Adventure'. Scripting, or lack thereof, is just awful pitting our hero and a travelling circus against the townspeople who inexplicably hate Pee-Wee. Most look embarrassed to be in the film; and well they should. Talk about a franchise killer.