Directed by the American actor Dante R. Basco, The Fabulous Filipino Brothers also happens to star the real-life Basco brothers as the reel life Abasta brothers. The title sounds like a film about a boy band who once opened for Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas and were audience favourites back in the day. The reality however is quite different as this film is a joint effort of four actual Filipino-American brothers, Dante, Derek, Dionysio and Darion. While one can only wonder just how autobiographical this experience is for the four of them, it becomes clearly visible behind the great camaraderie and comic timing on screen.
Netflix describes the film in the following words,
Before they reunite for a wedding, four brothers in Pittsburgh, California have experiences that challenge their beliefs on family, love and culture.
– The Fabulous Filipino Brothers review does not contain spoilers –
Director Dante Basco co-wrote the script with his brother Darion, which constantly switches back and forth between the wedding celebration of a Filipino-American family in Pittsburg and puts individual focus on each brother on the days leading to the big event. In a style reminiscent of comedies from the 1960s and 1970s, there are shifts in tones ranging from sweetly romantic to shockingly dark. The entire story is meanwhile being narrated by an omniscient narrator whose secret identity is later revealed in a cheeky twist of fate.
Dayo Abasta, the eldest played by Derek Basco decides to pay for the wedding feast even though he can hardly afford to pay for such an extravaganza but it also happens to be a matter of pride to him. So he decides to go back to his past as a hustler on the streets while the next brother, Duke Abasta played by Dante Basco himself ends up mixing business with pleasure after a chance encounter with an old flame. The plot shifts from shocking to sentimental when the story moves to the two younger brothers, Danny Boy Abasta played by Darion Basco and David played by Dionysio Basco.
The Fabulous Filipino Brothers also happens to be a film that had its world premiere at SXSW at a controversial time when anti-Asian racial prejudices were at an all-time high, globally spread by many politicians and hate mongers leading to several assaults. The film does not carry any weight of the injustices faced by the American-Filipino community but looks closer to the love that binds the Abasta family. It would be kind of unfair to expect a political statement from a comedy like The Fabulous Filipino Brothers.
A number of other real-life Basco family members play a whole range of supporting roles in The Fabulous Filipino Brothers – it’s a family affair like no other. The director agreed and mentioned in an interview how his brothers are amazing actors and he is overjoyed to be able to craft roles from his brothers, in his directorial debut. Basco also confirmed that the film is definitely based on true stories and is naturally, extremely personal to the director himself.
Summing Up The Fabulous Filipino Brothers
A heartfelt tale of four brothers, The Fabulous Filipino Brothers is a must-watch for everyone who loves those feel-good comedies with plotlines revolving around family, brotherhood and a whole lot of love. Dante Basco’s directorial debut is a fresh breath of air in the world of family dramas!
The Fabulous Filipino Brothers is streaming on Netflix.