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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

‘The Fabulous Filipino Brothers’ review: For better or for worse

From left, Darius Basco, Aida Basco, Dante Basco, Dionysio Basco, Cheryl Tsai, Derek Basco and Iluminada Monroy in “The Fabulous Filipino Brothers,” directed by Dante Basco

By Teo Bugbee

The family at the center of the poignant comedy “The Fabulous Filipino Brothers” is a raucous and big-hearted bunch. The Abasta siblings are prone to bickering, but they’re just as quick to offer support. The chemistry apparent in this portrait of a tight-knit Filipino American family isn’t faked: The Abastas are played by real siblings, the Bascos, who have been working in film and television for decades. One of them, Dante Basco, directs, and he and his brother Darion wrote the story together.

The movie revolves around preparations for a Filipino wedding in their hometown, Pittsburg, California. The film’s structure is episodic, following the siblings one at a time as they prepare for, attend and recover from the wedding. Derek Basco plays Dayo, the eldest brother, who has taken on responsibility for the food at the reception. Dante Basco is Duke, a successful businessman who is tempted to change his life after an encounter with a former lover. David (Dionysio Basco) is the party boy and, most movingly, there is Darion Basco as Danny, the depressed middle child whose spirits are revived by a date with a woman he meets online, Teresa (Liza Lapira). The one sister, Doris (Arianna Basco), acts as the movie’s narrator.

The plot is loose, more oriented toward hanging out with its characters than in driving them to revelations or catharsis. But the director ties the eclectic siblings together through the dialogue, which frequently contemplates the family’s Filipino identity, and through the use of color. Every frame is flush with warm, saturated color, and the vibrant quality of the images conveys joyous generosity. The most poignant appeal of this movie is the feeling it creates of being welcomed into a family that radiates all things bright and good.

Additional Information:

‘The Fabulous Filipino Brothers’Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 39 minutes. Rent or buy on Amazon, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.

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