“Easter Sunday” has it all for a rambunctious family comedy: the main character is a struggling actor and comedian with crazy relatives and a troubled relationship with his son. The film features mostly Filipino actors, with wonderful, culturally specific jokes and a cast of characters that fit into stereotypical, but no less true, immigrant archetypes. Not only Filipino viewers will see their families represented here; much of it also sounded true to this Dominican reviewer.
In the film, directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, Joe Valencia (Jo Koy) tries to get his career off the ground while producers pressure him to put on a Filipino accent to land a big role. At the same time, he struggles to connect with his son, Junior (Brandon Wardell), a Gen Z high school student Joe considers privileged. Generation rifts can also be seen at Easter dinner at the family’s matriarch’s home in San Francisco, where Joe and Junior go on a road trip.
There are many really funny moments in the film, including bumps between the warring aunts, the high-pitched jokes of a crazed cousin, and situations where the family has an irreverent relationship with religion. Additionally, the film features some winning cameos: Tiffany Haddish plays a police officer and an old flame of Joe, and Lou Diamond Phillips appears as himself. But things get a little off track with a subplot involving an illegal plan and neighborhood guys. “Easter Sunday” is at its strongest when it stays close to the Valencia family, who were made for TV.
Rated PG-13 for violence and some foul language. Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes. In theatres.