Premise: A comedian (Jo Kay) with a burgeoning career reunites with his family for Easter. Career pressures and old family grievances come to a head.
What Works: Easter Sunday includes a running gag between the comedian’s mother and his aunt, played by Lydia Gaston and Tia Carrere. The two women are constantly feuding, one upping each other and making passive aggressive comments. This is the one part of Easter Sunday that displays wit.
What Doesn’t: Easter Sunday is intended to send-up television sitcom holiday specials. The film begins with a comedian auditioning for a sitcom and when the producers realize he’s half Filipino the part take a racialized turn. The rest of the film follows the comedian through the holiday weekend as he tries to balance family commitments with career goals and he weighs the ethical calculations of playing a stereotypical character. Among the problems of Easter Sunday is its hypocritical stance against stereotypes. Jo Kay’s character feels exploited by the sitcom producers but this film does exactly the same thing, reinforcing Filipino stereotypes and not in a way that is self-aware or ironic. Virtually all the characters are one-dimensional types. Culture is ripe for humor but Easter Sunday doesn’t do much that is culturally specific nor does it find any humor in it. Easter Sunday isn’t funny. The jokes are lame and the plot consists of a bunch of uninspired hijinks. The plotting is exhausting, jerking the audience from one place to another with little set up or pay off. The picture occasionally stops for Jo Kay to do his shtick, especially in an extended church scene, but this just comes off as a forced aside that has no story function and it’s not funny. The film also looks ugly. The lighting is terrible. Even outdoor sequences have a drab look with muted colors.
Bottom Line: Easter Sunday is a terrible film. The filmmakers wag their finger at television sitcoms but the average network comedy has better production values and a lot more laughs than this.
Episode: #936 (January 22, 2023)