Comedy legend Jo Koy stars in Easter Sunday, a new family comedy. While his Filipino family struggles through a dysfunctional Easter Sunday dinner, Jo Koy explores their foibles and strengths. The film stars Koy as Joe Valencia, a down-on-his-luck comedian and struggling actor who is aspiring to make it big in Hollywood.
In Los Angeles, he hustles constantly looking for work, so he is almost estranged from his teenage son Junior. The network executives want Joe to use a stereotypical Filipino accent for his character in a big sitcom project in which he is close to landing a series regular role.
His mother’s Easter Sunday dinner persuades Joe to return to his hometown of Daly City during his professional strife. Bringing Junior along is part of his attempt to repair some of the emotional distance between them. In a short time, Joe realizes that Eugene has teamed up with a shady individual, Dev Deluxe, to help fund Eugene’s Hypetruck venture.
The announcement of Dev Deluxe’s visit to collect Eugene’s debts entangles Joe in the chaos. Moreover, Joe’s mother Susan is embroiled in a bitter conflict with her sister Teresa. Then Joe has to find a way to make peace with his family, survive family dinner, and finally land a decent acting job. The comedic material of Jo Koy lends Easter Sunday a genuine, true-to-life quality.
While the character of Joe Valencia does not directly reflect Jo Koy’s life, experiences, or relationships, it is based on them. Family dysfunction and discord are surprisingly poignant throughout this film and blend just as well with the comedy. Those are the moments on Easter Sunday when it feels like it is Easter Sunday.
The supporting cast of Easter Sunday is both talented and humorous. The role of Marvin Ma is a small but funny one for Jimmy O. Yang as an old acquaintance and local rare goods dealer. Chandrasekhar is hilarious as Joe’s goofy agent, and he also directs the film. The actress Tiffany Haddish plays Joe’s old flame, Vanessa, with a lot of humor.
Joe’s family members all have believable energy and chemistry together. I am also thrilled to see Tia Carrere in a film once again. Lou Diamond Phillips plays a scene-stealing role. A talented filmmaker, Jay Chandrasekhar has produced some excellent films in the past. It is a good piece of work that focuses on the kind of humor Jo Koy is renowned for.
In most cases, the humor is situational and plot-based rather than cheap, gross-out laughs. Sophomoric humor can work well when executed properly, but it must be executed well to be effective. Funny visual gags are some of Easter Sunday’s best laughs.
One of Deluxe’s underlings rides off on a motorized scooter on the way to the park after Joe is threatened by him at a family luncheon by Dev Deluxe. In general, Easter Sunday’s plot structure is very light. Despite only having 96 minutes, the plot unfolds predictably. It appears that Junior’s romance with local girl Tala, whom he meets during the trip, was shoehorned in.
There could have been more breathing room within the structural narrative by making this a weekend instead of just one day. There are multiple subplots in the movie, so Joe’s relationship with his sister and mother is sometimes overshadowed by the plot. Joe tries to land his acting role, then makes it home for Sunday dinner and tries to fix Eugene’s mess.
There would have been some benefit from exploring Joe’s different familial relationships, as they usually produced the best parts of his standup acts and the most genuinely emotional moments. A solid, charming cast and a positive, uplifting message about a family overcoming their differences and coming together make Easter Sunday a good, unexpectedly wholesome family comedy. There is something relatable in Joy Koy’s family, the dynamics, relationships, and disagreements.
Dakota Cameron is a seasoned web content writer and covers the Hollywood movies for the MovieThop Website
Ms. Cameron began his professional life as a freelance blogger. Later, he worked for Witbe as a content writer for two years. His interests include blogging, reading, movies and travel.
Ms. Cameron graduated in Journalism and Mass Communication from University State of Georgia University. He is fluent in French, Spanish, and other languages.