The script had me laughing throughout, so I have to say "Pee-Wee" fits the qualifications of an entertaining film. However, it underscores something about Tim Burton's oeuvre, in that his best films set their outsider heroes against a backdrop of normalcy and conservatism. Here, Pee-Wee's world is more or less just as strange and off-kilter as he is, so there's literally nothing to ground the humor (or the audience).
Burton's feature debut holds up so well 25 years on. A hilarious journey with the child-man Pee Wee Herman. The laughs are frequent with one great scene after another. A triumph of production design and an amazing Elfman score. "large marge", "remember the alamo" Mind you the line "Dottie, there are things you don't want to know about me" has a different meaning than in 1985. Great fun for kids and adults.
Almost psychotically deranged - and one of the most genius characters ever constructed. Pee Wee is so weird and watchable doing his thing, or clashing with those as eccentric and arrested as him (Francis), but somehow gains little friction when dealing with us normies. So, the middle of this is a lull. Burton does wonderful things framing Pee Wee within perspectives.
A balance of ying & yang, Reuben's manic style & Burton's darkly comic mood fit perfectly together. Like a modern attempt at Marx Bros, the film throws gag after gag w/o taking time to see which one lands. The film quickly charms you that by the time the studio-chase comes, you're won over. Tim Burton, please make films like your early features again? Sincerely, The World.
Pee-wee's the house, everyone else gambles. Overriding any individual hand, luck will end up swinging his way. He can't lose verbally, not because he's clever -- "I know you are, but what am I" -- but because in his 'hood no one's cleverer. His charm comes from how he crosses limits that only others perceive. The snake scene is special because Pee-wee crosses his own limits -- a small nod to unrealized adulthood.
Easily Burton's best, Ed Wood takes the silver. As story has it the film had a totally different script in place; a remake of Pollyanna, until Reubens noticed all the bicycles on set and decided he was making the wrong film. Thank god.