The Fabulous Filipino Brothers had me from the start. The dynamic between the siblings reminded me of my own family with the chaos, collective craziness, and how you must keep it together no matter the scenario. The situation, in this case, is a family wedding. The titular brothers are part of the Basco clan, a Filipino American family whose antics are narrated by their sister. Immediately, we are given the ground rules of what it means to be a Filipino American and learn of the family rules that apply to the Bascos. This is also a crash course of Filipino culture in southern California.
Dante Basco, the director and one of the actors (known for his role as Rufio, the young leader of the Lost Boys in Steven Spielberg’s Hook), proves himself in his directorial debut. It’s an impressive first film with a large cast, numerous locations, and involved storylines. He is joined by his real-life brothers Derek Basco, Dionysio Basco, Darion Basco, and their real-life sister Arianna Basco. The film ebbs and flows from serious to silly as we learn about each brother’s plight and the wackiness that follows. However, the life-changing actions or decisions the brothers face are not far from reality.
We meet each sibling in their own chapter and see their place in the family hierarchy, with us beginning at a kitchen table. There’s the perfect child, the dark and mysterious one, the hustler, and the groovy and new-age single guy. Thrown in are past lovers from the Philippines, dating a potential cousin, recovering from loss, and trying to serve the needs of a family that is a bit suspect. There are funny storylines involving their grandmother, glutenous and inappropriate food handling, and using a dating app — all authentic slices of life but slightly different from the norm.
“…the Basco clan, a Filipino American family whose antics are narrated by their sister.”
The narratives are all set apart but eventually circle back to the kitchen table, family, and, of course, a wedding. There’s a commitment to family, culture, and the strains of life that are familiar and informative. Although the comedy is over the top at times, it is very authentic and from the heart. It appears as if the family had a great time making The Fabulous Filipino Brothers, which is also an endearing perspective for those unfamiliar with Filipino culture and Filipino Americans. This is evident in how genial, and fun all the actors come across. Plus, Dante Basco smoothly transition from one plot to the next, never losing the audience.
Of course, when telling stories such as this, be aware that not all viewers will be able to relate to each one. Thankfully, the director and his co-writers (i.e., his family members) know this and ensure that at least one plot thread is relatable to everyone watching. Of course, the narrative structure gives rise to simple lessons and words of wisdom/encouragement, which a few might already know. Nonetheless, that does not prevent them from working within the context of this tale with these delightful characters.
However, homespun The Fabulous Filipino Brothers might feel or even appear, the film has a certain charm, which many will enjoy. Dante Basco and his family have done something many others failed: they made a family picture, as a family, that is a true family affair.
"…has a certain charm, which many will enjoy."