Combustible Celluloid Review - Easter Sunday (2022), Kate Angelo, Ken Cheng, based on a story by Ken Cheng, Jay Chandrasekhar, Jo Koy, Lydia Gaston, Brandon Wardell, Eva Noblezada, Eugene Cordero, Tiffany Haddish, Tia Carrere, Melody Butiu, Joey Guila, Rodney To, Elena Juatco, Lou Diamond Phillips, Asif Ali, Jimmy O. Yang
Combustible Celluloid
 
With: Jo Koy, Lydia Gaston, Brandon Wardell, Eva Noblezada, Eugene Cordero, Tiffany Haddish, Tia Carrere, Melody Butiu, Joey Guila, Rodney To, Elena Juatco, Lou Diamond Phillips, Asif Ali, Jimmy O. Yang
Written by: Kate Angelo, Ken Cheng, based on a story by Ken Cheng
Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some strong language, and suggestive references
Running Time: 96
Date: 08/04/2022
IMDB

Easter Sunday (2022)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Adobo Acrobatics

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Though it employs overly-familiar sitcom-type plot threads, this inclusive comedy is nonetheless fleshed out by its warm characters, their easy chemistry, and the humor that flows naturally therein.

Stand-up comic Joe Valencia (Jo Koy) is badgered by his Filipino mother (Lydia Gaston) to come home for the Easter holiday, and he decides to drag along his son Junior (Brandon Wardell) for some bonding time. Unfortunately Joe is distracted by the possibility of a part on a new TV series, which would require him to do a "funny" Filipino accent.

He also discovers that his cousin Eugene (Eugene Cordero), with whom he has invested in a taco truck, has turned their investment into a "hype truck," and now owes money to angry mobsters. On top of that, Joe's mother and her sister, Joe's Tita Theresa (Tia Carrere) are fighting and refuse to share a meal together. Everything comes to a head when the criminals, led by Dev Deluxe (Asif Ali) crash the dinner party.

The leading-man debut of stand-up comic Koy, Easter Sunday successfully draws from Koy's act, focusing on all the love and craziness of his Filipino family. It's a treat to see such strong Filipino representation, but the family dynamic is also nicely universal. The director, Jay Chandrasekhar, is best known for his broad, lowbrow Broken Lizard comedies, and in this he falls back on coincidences, chase scenes, annoying villains, and a violent showdown that don't conjure many laughs, but the simpler character interactions are genuinely funny.

Koy is smart enough to surround himself with a wide selection of wonderful character actors — mostly Filipino — that make the material sing. Cordero is a delight as the cousin whose dumb idea causes all the trouble, while he still displays a sweetness and a charming smile that make him human.

Carrere is hilarious as the curvy, pouting auntie who wages subtle food wars with Joe's mom. Comic Jimmy O. Yang is also hilarious as a backroom black-market guy. And Lou Diamond Phillips brings a legendary presence to his cameo as himself. Indeed, there's a lot happening in Easter Sunday, but it's the little moments in-between the broader strokes that make it worth hunting for.

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