By Tribute on August 5, 2022 | Leave a comment
Easter Sunday At its core, it is a film about family. Joe Valencia (Jo Koy) is a stand-up comedian struggling to maintain a healthy balance between work and family life. Joe is trying to secure the lead role for his own TV show, but producers will only hire him if he puts on a fake Filipino accent. Since the film is largely based on Jo Koy’s life experiences, we can assume that this plot detail represents the racism and discrimination Jo faced while working in the entertainment industry.
His son Junior (Brandon Wardell) becomes increasingly frustrated with his father’s absence from his life and begins to resent him for being late or missing some minor life events. Joe’s mother invites him and Junior to Easter Sunday and the two embark on a road trip to see their Filipino-American family again.
Throughout the film, Joe receives calls from his agent urging him to accept the role he’s been offered and that he has to do an accent. Meanwhile, his mom thinks Joe has already landed the part and has been telling her entire community that he’s going to have his own show. It’s very understandable to see Joe struggling to tell the truth and accept the praise from those around him. Joe is also tasked with solving an ongoing feud between his mother and Tita, which leads to them singing karaoke together. Karaoke is a big part of Filipino culture and it was nice to see that in the film.
At his childhood home, Joe meets his seedy cousin Eugene (Eugene Cordero) who owes a lot of money to an even more seedy guy named Dev Deluxe (Asif Ali). This storyline eventually becomes the main focus of the film and includes special appearances from Lou Diamond Phillips and Jimmy O. Yang. Eva Noblezada brings a breath of fresh air as Junior’s love interest, Ruth.
There are a few action scenes in Joe’s attempt to help his cousin which makes the film very entertaining. These scenes end with Tiffany Haddish playing Joe’s wacky ex-girlfriend, Vanessa. These scenes were easily the highlights of the film. Tiffany is hilarious in this role.
The theater laughed throughout the film and the audience seemed to enjoy Jo Koy’s comedy. Not being of Filipino origin myself, I felt a little left out of many of the jokes, but I enjoyed seeing this kind of portrayal in a mainstream film. Anyone who understands Filipino culture will enjoy this movie. ∼Senna Gil
3 out of 5 stars