When Pete and Ellie decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of foster care adoption. They hope to take in one small child, but when they meet three siblings, including a rebellious 15-year-old girl, they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight. Now, Pete and Ellie must try to learn the ropes of instant parenthood in the hope of becoming a family. (1)
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WARNING: This film is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, moderate sexual material, moderate profanity, and mild drug references. Preferred audiences: 13+
Hello, Movie Buffs!
Directed and written by Sean Anders (That’s My Boy; Daddy’s Home 1 & 2) and co-written by John Morris (Daddy’s Home; Dumb and Dumber To), Instant Family (2018) is based on the true story of director Andres’ real family and is heartwarming in a modern way that is not sappy. Although there are some difficult parts due to the profanity and sexual innuendos, it is still more enjoyable than what it could have been, particularly like other films of its kind.
Instant Family comes with a simple story that allows for numerous ideas to be incorporated in to the film without straying to far from its roots. All the issues and emotions that come with fostering children are brought to the surface and Andres does not shy away from making audiences laugh and cry as this family comes together through some unexpected and yet believable circumstances. This film may be heartwarming but it is also a comedic adventure. It manages to balance different styles of laughter that allow for the comedy to remain fresh over the course of the film. In order to be a family friendly film, filmmakers usually have to stick to G-rated jokes and language, which ultimately limits the audience to mostly kids. Fortunately, Instant Family finds the balance between being PG and PG-13, which makes it fun to watch and allows for more than just kids to enjoy it. Of course, there are a few adult themed scenes here and there but this film is nowhere near as risqué and raunchy as some of Anders’ previous films. There is also a lot of relatability and emotion in this film. Instant Family carries enough issues about a variety of topics that any audience member, whether you’re in the foster program or not, will find something relatable. The story has the ability to captivate audiences by bringing so many feelings to light, which ultimately enhance the film’s success. But aside from all the emotion, comedy, relatability, and overall heartwarming-ness, Instant Family succeeds because Andres and Morris found a way to balance all of these components and combine them into one cohesive film.
The cast gave solid performances. Mark Wahlberg (Transformers 4-5; Daddy’s Home 1-2) knows how to play the macho man father from Daddy’s Home 1 & 2 but here he portrays a different side by delivering some real emotion. In a way he was allowed to be more himself, then he has in any of his other roles. Now not only is this is another collaboration between Anders and Wahlberg but it is also the second collaboration between Wahlberg and Isabelle Moner (Transformer: Last Knight). Moner gives a good performance as teenager Lizzie and while I can understand her character, sometimes I got annoyed with her disrespectful attitude. Rose Byrne (Spy) as Ellie, Gustavo Quiroz as Juan, Julianna Gamiz as Lita all gave good performances, especially Byrne who had great chemistry with Wahlberg. Julie Hagerty (Airplane; Just Friends) and Margo Martindale (Secretariat; The Kitchen) were hilarious as the two completely different grandmothers, especially Hagerty with her almost innocent like character and soft-spoken voice. Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) and Octavia Spencer (Shape of Water) complimented each other as two different social workers, they played off each other well and offered some serious laughs. And the small cameo of Joan Cusack was the icing on the cake.
Overall, Instant Family (2018) is a heartwarming, relatable, emotional, and comedic adventure that the whole family will enjoy. Based on a true story, the story itself is simple but touches on a variety of issues, and while there a few adult themed scenes – mainly in terms of the topic of discussion – it is nowhere near as risqué as Anders previous films. The cast did an amazing job with some characters surprisingly being more comedic than others. I recommend this film as worth seeing.
“Ellie, people who take in foster kids are really special. The kind of people who volunteer when it’s not even a holiday. We don’t even volunteer on a holiday.”
Final Vote --- 7.8 of 10 stars
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