Easter Sunday movie review & film summary (2022)

That is nothing compared to the pressure from Joe’s mother, Susan (Lydia Gaston) in the Bay Area, who insists that he visit her for Easter with the family. Joe also realizes he has not paid enough attention to his teenage son, Junior (Brandon Wardell), so the two of them drive up to Daly City together.

Joe’s cousin Eugene (Eugene Cordero of “The Good Place”) has taken the $20,000 Joe gave him to buy a taco truck and instead bought something called a Hype Bus. The loan shark who provided the cash for inventory (Asif Ali as Dev Divine) insists on being repaid immediately. Susan and her sister, Joe’s Tita Theresa (Tia Carrere) are not speaking to each other but speaking nonstop to everyone else about their feud. And Nick keeps calling about the job, finally telling Joe he has to fly back to LA immediately for a meeting with the showrunners. Comic chaos ensues.

I love Jo Koy’s stand-up and highly recommend his story about his mother’s response when he loses his keys. Like all great stand-ups, he is brilliant at creating vivid characters on stage with his exaggerated posture, facial expressions, and voice. The character he plays here has a more limited range, mostly looking frustrated or harried. At Easter services, after a silly encounter with the priest who wants help with his show business career, Joe ends up in front of the congregation and can’t help going into a stand-up routine about Easter. 

The plot contrivances about Eugene’s predicament with the loan shark, a valuable stolen item, and the updates from Nick (who always ends a call by saying he is losing the cell signal) get tedious, because they don’t play into Koy’s strengths as a performer or the setting’s potential for “the more specific a story is, the more universal it is” category. Eugene says, “Family is mad complicated” and that is about as insightful as it gets until the hug-fest ending. Anyone who is second or third generation will identify with the tradition vs. assimilation dynamic and the passionate loyalty to members of the community who have become famous. And anyone who has a family will identify with the generational conflicts over what constitutes success and the importance of security. 

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