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Film Review

Easter Sunday

Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar
From: Universal Pictures
Released: 08.05.22
Review by Drew Bittner | August 4, 2022 at 12:00 PM

Basically: An actor known for beer commercials has a shot at bigger things—if a weekend with his family doesn’t interfere. 

Popular stand-up comic Jo Koy appears as Joe Valencia, known for his beer commercial catchphrase “Let’s get the party started, baby!” However, he wants to be more than that. He has a shot at being the lead of a new sitcom…but he has to ride out Easter weekend with his family in Daly City, CA first. Taking his son Joe Jr. (Brandon Wardell) along, Joe finds his mother Susan (Lydia Gaston) embroiled in a feud with his aunt Teresa (Tia Carrere), while his ne’er-do-well cousin Eugene (Eugene Cordero) is in hot water.

How Joe navigates the multiple curves Easter throws at him—including an unusual church service, a run-in with thugs AND an old flame, and a brush with a famous actor—is all part of the story.

Photo: Universal Studios

Koy proves himself as adept at the small, quiet, and thoughtful moments as he is at the larger, more bombastic persona he brings to the stage. Joe has some things to figure out and Koy portrays his journey in a clear, insightful way. I doubt this is the last time he’ll headline a movie.

The rest of Easter Sunday’s cast is terrific, with standouts including: Cordero as a guy with big dreams and reckless disregard for his own safety; Wardell as a fish out of water being half-Filipino among his boisterous, affectionate, and argumentative family (not to mention meeting a level-headed young lady named Ruth, played by Eva Noblezada); and Carrere and Gaston as the bickering sisters steadily trying to one-up each other. Jimmy O. Yang shows up as a shady middleman when Joe and Eugene need help, giving the movie just the right amount of “what the heck??” And Asif Ali brings a disturbing intensity to the movie’s nominal villain, Dev Deluxe.

In the End: Easter Sunday is warm and relatable, featuring a family whose members you might recognize around your own Thanksgiving table. It’s got a lot of heart and might be the ideal antidote if you’re worn out from blockbusters or big movies.

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