100

Salon.com

By Stephanie Zacharek
Everything about Pee-wee's Big Adventure, from its toy-box colors to its superb, hyperanimated Danny Elfman score to the butch-waxed hairdo and wooden-puppet walk of its star and mastermind, Pee-wee Herman, is pure pleasure.
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88

TV Guide

Inspired lunacy, Pee-wee's big adventure is one of the most inventive films in recent memory. This clever and wholly original work incorporates a wide variety of cinematic tools with a fresh and unique sense of style.
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80

Empire

Burton's first feature revels in the weird, the unpredictable, the infantile and the absurd. A dazzling debut.
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75

San Francisco Chronicle

By Peter Stack
I'm completely unsure what else Pee-Wee's Big Adventure is about. I can tell you that 70 percent of moviegoers in their 20s and 30s will likely find this crazy production to be a barrel of fun, and frequently a barrel of laughs. A certain intelligence peeks through it all. [9 Aug 1985, p.68]
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75

Boston Globe

By Jay Carr
Pee- wee's Big Adventure is a shrewdly observed, deftly executed looney tune. [9 Aug 1985, p.42]
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75

Chicago Sun-Times

Pee-wee's Big Adventure goes up and down the hills of Pee-wee shtick, without much concern for things like cohesiveness and consistency. What makes it wear so well is the balance achieved between Pee-wee's nitwit nervousness and his pathetic optimism. [12 Aug 1985, p.35]
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70

Chicago Reader

By Dave Kehr
With all these safety features built in, this 1985 film is too well padded to qualify as genuinely radical wit, but in an even-toned, TV sort of way it's mildly amusing and inventive throughout.
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63

The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

By Liam Lacey
If Pee-Wee wasn't the most engaging physical comedian since Dick Van Dyke, it would be disastrous. As it is, the opening works well enough to have viewers completely hooked by the time he sets out on the road, like Huck Finn, with his clothes wrapped up in a handerchief on a stick. [10 Aug 1985, p.E9]
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10

Wall Street Journal

By Julie Salamon
The movie has the cartoonish realism of a Muppet movie. However, Mr. Herman is no Kermit the Frog, although he made me feel like Oscar the Grouch. [13 Aug 1985, p.1]
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0

Chicago Tribune

By Gene Siskel
Nothing, absolutely nothing, at either location is the slightest bit funny. [13 Sep 1985, p.C]
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47 out of 100
Mixed or average reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.