Filipino Family Comedy Feels Both Fresh and Familiar
By Mark Fields
It’s funny how movies tightly focused on an unfamiliar cultural microcosm, such as an immigrant Filipino family in California, can nevertheless end up feeling so universal. Such is the case with Easter Sunday, a semi-autobiographical comedy starring stand-up Jo Koy and based on his material and life story. Koy plays Joe Valencia, a struggling L.A. comic and actor with a complicated, raucous personal life that only becomes more so when he returns to his Filipino family to celebrate Easter Sunday. Featuring an early entirely Asian cast, the film is packed with references that are both incredibly culturally specific and yet strikingly familiar to anyone with parents and cousins and children. Koy has a beguiling onscreen comfort in this fictionalized version of his own story, and he has surrounded himself with very funny people in supporting roles, including Eugene Cordero, Tia Carrere, Jimmy O. Yang, Tiffany Hadish, and even Lou Diamond Phillips. You’ll laugh a lot, you’ll cry a little, and you’ll come out of the theater wanting to call your mom.