State salutes the comic's Big Adventure

By Gregory Kirschling
Updated April 11, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
  • Movie

When we asked Chris Rock if he was consciously stealing from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure in his new film, Head of State, we did ask gingerly. After all, it is Rock’s big directing debut…

”C’mon, you can see [Big Adventure] all over the movie!” he cries, singling out the same two Pee-wee-inspired scenes we noticed in State. One of them is a ”Deep in the Heart of Texas” sing-along; the other, a ”I know you are but what am I?” shout-a-thon. ”I don’t think people realize how genius that movie really is. A flawless piece of art!”

Has he ever told Pee-wee? ”I met him one time, a long time ago,” he says. ”We did the last episode of The Joan Rivers Show. My first time on TV. I was so frightened.” But Rock didn’t have the nerve to talk about Big Adventure. ”I was absolutely unknown at the time. He was Pee-wee Herman.”

”I am totally flattered,” says Paul Reubens, Pee-wee’s alter ego. ”And it’s great to hear Chris Rock is a fan because I’m such a huge fan of his.”

Head of State

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 95 minutes
  • Chris Rock