Joseph Valencia is a single dad trying to make it big in the world of television comedy. On top of trying to spend time with his son, he also has to figure out why his mom and his aunt are fighting in the middle of the big Easter Sunday family gathering. Some other shenanigans ensue involving Joseph’s cousin Eugene, who gets in trouble with some local loan sharks. But in the end, the strength and love of family (along with some help from Baby Jesus) is what saves the day.
I’ll be the first to say that I don’t usually go to the theaters to watch a comedy movie. And this movie isn’t groundbreaking in terms of writing. The jokes are somewhat predictable, but much like Filipino relatives, they don’t overstay their welcome. The cast is what really sells the movie. Highlights include Eugene Cordero (whom some will recognize as Pillboi from The Good Place), Eva Noblezada (Eurydice from the musical Hadestown), Tia Carrerre (who voiced Nani on Lilo and Stitch), and Rodney To (Mike from Barry). Joseph’s mother is also stands out for her stubborn demeanor. And yes, my mom definitely dresses like her. I just wish some of the other members of the ensemble cast got some more screentime.
What makes this movie worth seeing for me is the heart and spirit of it all. It reminded me so much of the family gatherings I had, complete with karaoke. I honestly felt like I was a teenager again, watching random family sitcoms like Everybody Loves Raymond and The George Lopez Show. And for those who aren’t Filipino, this movie basically feels like the backdoor pilot for a sitcom that I really hope will happen. After all, a lot of sitcoms were based on stand-up comedy acts. In the case of Easter Sunday, this movie felt like eating Jollibee’s Chickenjoy or a warm bowl of arroz caldo. It’s predictable, but feels like comfort food.
I highly recommend seeing Easter Sunday in theaters, if only to make sure that The Jo Koy Show can actually be a thing for Peacock or NBC’s Thursday night lineup.