Joe Valencia (stage name Jo Koy) is a comedic talent worth noting because he cites two comedy legends—Robin Williams and Steve Martin—as huge influences. Both made successful transitions to the big screen, and to be on par in Easter Sunday will take a lot more work.
He can do it. This movie sees him getting top billing, and its success must go beyond being a family sitcom about a Filipino household coming together for their Asian style holiday. The theatrical release in August and home video issue in Oct is unusual, but I welcomed this change of pace. The bonus material is nothing to rave about, and the best takeaway is that it was filmed during the pandemic. As for what it took to bring two of my favourite entertainers to this production, I was hooked.
Lou Diamond Phillips plays himself, and it concerns his interest with a pair of famous boxing gloves. Tia Carrere never cannot grace the screen, and she even gets to sing. Although not a lot of time is spent on the rivalry her character has with Valencia’s mom, it’s great to see her active.
This film directed by Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers) is watchable. It’s nowhere close to those classics like Ms Doubtfire or Parenthood. The only similarity is in the fact Joe is raising Junior (Brandon Wardell) on his own and doing his best to provide. But when his mama calls to verify he’s coming home for this special occasion, the apprehension is very clear.
The movie mixes up the familiar styling of Seinfeld in the first act and goes all out with The Fabulous Filipino Brothers (review) as a reference for the rest. I find the direction odd when bits of that stand up are ditched. The study about the inner workings of this Polynesian family in Easter Sunday isn’t deep, but I couldn’t help but wonder if only the adaptation of this comedian’s routine couldn’t be made tighter.
Also, Although Valencia is not intentionally wanting to look like Vin Diesel, he throws in a bit of that presence when the camera shot requires it. Like the Fast and the Furious movies, we get a moment of high intensity action. Afterwards, there’s always that line about why keeping family together is important. But unlike it, the stakes are not serious. The crime concerns revealing how those gloves were obtained, its value and paying back a loan shark. And as for whether the theft can be traced to Joe’s family, the conflict seems unimportant.
The next project this talent is listed to appear in (voice, actually) is Netflix Animation/ Pearl Studios The Monkey King. Although the role is unspecified, I feel that as long as he can prove he’s more than just a funny guy, his future is promising.
3 Stars out of 5