August 19, 2022

‘Easter Sunday’ is Joe Coy’s big-screen pitch to get his own sitcom

5 min read


If anyone deserves a sitcom, it’s Joe Koi. The definition of a working comic, the constant touring stand-up comedian hits all the shows that run late into the night, and pumped up special after specials, selling theaters all the time. And yet, Coe hasn’t been able to break out of his (possibly quite lucrative) rut. All he needs is a big crossover star vehicle, a la Amy Schumer (train accident) or Kumail Nanjiani (the big sick), Correct? Correct??

that’s it Easter Sunday Clearly designed to be, and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Koi is going to break out of that rut right now. It may be on holiday in the title, but it really can be just about any obligatory family gathering where you can’t eat until after church. (That’s why it doesn’t matter if it’s coming to your nearest theater in August.) Culturally, the film is more specific, capturing the arguments, eccentricities, and grand diffusion of Filipino-American family life – This is also a common theme of coy. stand up. On stage, he embodies his entire family, mimicking their voice and personality in a colorful one-man show. Here, that charisma spills over into a larger ensemble cast, making the man himself less interesting in comparison. The movie seems to know this too, giving Coe a stand-up scene that doesn’t make much sense in context — but does Inject the film with some much-needed energy.

And Coe’s on-screen alter ego, Joe Valencia, is like the artist himself, or at least a version of him. Stiff and hardworking, he does his best to be there for his teenage son Joe Jr. (Brandon Wardell), but rarely succeeds. An opening scene shows Joe struggling — and failing — to make it to a parent-teacher conference discussing Junior’s abysmal grades, a meeting he misses as he plays sitcoms across town. The second is on callback for the role that could change his life. His ex-wife (Carly Pope) is not very sympathetic. He pulls this crap all the time.

As if being a straight absent father from a nineties family movie wasn’t enough, who is under constant pressure from his mother, Susan (Lydia Gaston), who hides her insecurities behind a rigid Taskmaster mask. It’s a Filipino thing, the film explains, as there are creepy statues of Auntie, karaoke parties, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Santo Nino chasing you around the room with your eyes closed. Easter Sunday Tries to thread the needle between jokes that are often at risk of being hokey to mistake and explanations for those unaware. (At one point, supporting player Eva Noblezada dutifully points out that the shaved-ice dessert is the epitome of halo-halo Filipino culture: “extra, with so many piles.”)

A friendly source of soft dad jokes, Joe is embraced by the film’s wacky supporting characters as he and Junior move from Los Angeles to the Filipino enclave of Daly City, CA. For a holiday with family. Chief among these is his lost cousin Eugene (Eugene Cordero), who blew the $20,000 he gave him to start a taco truck on designer shoelaces and a colorful paint job for his so-called “hype truck”. was. It sparks a frantic subplot about a race to scrape up to $40k in a single afternoon to save Eugene from the lesser wrath of small-time gangster Dev Deluxe (Aasif Ali). Eugene plans to take off a stolen pair of boxing gloves that once belonged to boxer Manny Pacquiao. One who agrees to help under one condition: Gloves passed To go to a Filipino.

Tiffany Haddish, ever deep-bench MVP, provides some of the movie’s biggest laughs in a small role as Joe’s ex, who has since become a cop and his newfound ability to put her old boyfriend in his place. enjoys. The other bits pay off, too: Joe may not yet take away from his most successful work as a beer-commercial pitchman, and the film gets a lot of mileage out of him politely asking people to repeat his catchphrase back then. tolerates. Overall, though, the humor is more funny than belly laugh. The same things that make Coe a unique comedic presence—his agreeableness, his immaculate sentimentality—also make him an odd fit for contemporary film comedy and his emphasis on action. (When did gunplay become a prerequisite for Hollywood studio comedy?) This is where prolific director Jay Chandrasekhar (super troopers), who also appears in a minor role as Joe’s agent, steps up to give Easter Sunday some oomph.

But parts of that feel the most real, including the film’s most culturally specific message: Kids should understand their parents’ sacrifices and, as Noblezada says, when dads are missed. “Little Bitch” doesn’t contain a track meet or whatever. This, more than panning shots at tables groaning with empanadas, adobo, lechon, and pancit palabok, says something about the complex mix of guilt, resentment, gratitude, and nurturing that make up the experience of a Filipino-American family.

It’s clear that Joe Koy loves his relatives, and wants the world to know him. It’s just that his genre would be better presented within the more serious confines of traditional multi-cam sitcoms. His character’s longing for a regular job, where he is at home for dinner, reads like a subconscious plea to Hollywood, and makes the film’s ending feel like a wish fulfillment. Hopefully some studio executives will take cues from there.





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