Everyone has had PEZ at some point in their life. The colorful, long-necked devices which carry the candy is a staple food of some children. The Pez Outlaw documentary tells the story of a man named Steve Glew who worked to smuggle different collectible PEZ dispensers back in the 1990s.
The documentary is as advertised. It’s a fun little romp. It’s not a waste of time to watch. The Pez Outlaw happens to miss in the one department every documentary needs: a purpose.
The Takeaway: The Pez Outlaw isn’t an interesting enough story to make into a film
I gave The Pez Outlaw a shot because I’m fearful of the day when Netflix password sharing ends. I want to watch as many of their documentaries as I can because I can’t see myself paying a monthly subscription for something with such little quality content. The Pez Outlaw is one documentary I’ve been passing by for a couple of weeks. Finally willing to give it a shot, the tone had me recalling when I watched The Toys That Made Us series on the same platform.
Those shorter episodes about individual toys worked. In 40-50 minutes, I learned everything I needed to know about the history of Hello Kitty. The Pez Outlaw story would have worked on this same scale. Instead, we get half a film setting up a documentary about a lighter crime for the first half. Before you know it, the action is over.
It never felt like much was at stake in The Pez Outlaw. Glew had to bribe his way across Europe in the 1990s. He deals with customs at borders. Getting a piece of PEZ candy stuck in your throat feels as dangerous as anything he went through.
Throughout the documentary, I felt like The Pez Outlaw story would’ve been better suited in some sort of docuseries covering dark histories of candies. I’m not sure there are too many others. Surely, someone at a Mary Jane factory did something nefarious at some point.
It’s hard to hate The Pez Outlaw, but it’s impossible to fall in love with it either. Glew seems interesting and wacky enough yet we never get to fully see him embrace his weirdness. A few of the other characters have the potential to be fun, too. Anyone in the world of PEZ collecting is sure to have some quirks about them. I remember as a kid getting yelled at by a guy at a collectibles show for touching a PEZ dispenser of Gargamel from The Smurfs. He then tried to sell one to my dad, providing the whole history of Smurf PEZ dispensers.
At that moment, I realized the importance of having a girlfriend.
Overall Score: 4 out of 10
The Pez Outlaw wasn’t weird enough for me to recommend it. There weren’t enough funny moments in what is a fun little tale. In the end, there was no reason for me to care.
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