The bowtied boy-man manages to bring the magic back.

You can watch Pee-wee's Big Holiday on Netflix right now! This second! And you should, because it's a beautifully absurd, charming adventure, a perfect road trip bromance comedy that heralds the singular character's return to the big or small screen. We were treated to a screening at SXSW last night with Paul Reubens in attendance, along with producer Judd Apatow, director John Lee and co-screenwriter (with Reubens) Paul Rust, and because this screening was at the Alamo Drafthouse, we also got free milkshakes and root beer barrels, balloons and friendship bracelets. It was a party populated by fervent Pee-wee fans in variously wacky costumes, and the film earned its anticipation with style. 

It's been well over a decade since we last left Pee-wee Herman, and he's spent his time working as a chef at a greasy spoon in Fairville, living a small-town life and settling into a very comfortable rut. He's got his morning routine down so pat he's actually automated it through a treacherous Rube Goldberg machine. But one day, Joe Manganiello, of True Blood and Magic Mike, wanders into the diner and orders a milkshake, which is, as a matter of fact, Pee-wee's specialty. Soon the two (?) men are bonding over their favorite candy, hobbies and shared love of whimsy. Joe hears that Pee-wee has never traveled much outside of Fairville, so he invites him to his birthday party the following Friday. He wants Pee-wee to learn to live a little, and as Pee-wee embarks on his first big vacation, he does just that. 

On his journey to New York, Pee-wee encounters a kindly farmer with nine attention-hungry daughters, a bank-robbing trio of babes (including Alia Shawkat, whose nickname is, seriously, also Pee-wee), a gag gift salesman, an heiress with a flying car, a group of extreme hairdressers, an Amish fellowship and a cave-dwelling rapper, all the while learning a little about himself and the world with each new interaction. He takes several modes of transportation, each one failing spectacularly before he moves onto the next, so it's basically a 90-minute version of the "Fantastic Voyage" video starring Pee-wee Herman in the role of Coolio. But as he travels across the country enjoying his new adventures, he's dreaming of the day he can reunite with his best friend Joe Manganiello, who just so happens to be dreaming of the very same thing. 

Pee-wee's Big Holiday is a romance of outsiders, innocent and pure-hearted, and the bearded, muscular Manganiello makes an oddly perfect fit with Pee-wee's juvenile awkwardness. It's also a celebration of all the weirdos in the world, the misfits who have always rallied behind Reubens' nasal-voiced, over-dressed, wholly beloved character. And Pee-wee's Big Holiday is, finally, extremely stupid and nonsensical, in the exact correct way. Reubens himself said in the Q&A preceding the film that none of us should expect a plot, and that's a safe way to view this film. 

But if you go into Pee-wee's Big Holiday expecting nothing more than a bright, colorful, illogical ride full of huge laughs and also featuring Magic Mike's Joe Manganiello, you will not be disappointed.