“This is never going to be easy, but with some structure and love you could make your house a home.”
This is the heart of what goes on in the minds of anyone who has an urge to adopt and Instant Family is an instant reminder that anything is possible if you’re a person with a lot of love to give.The film starts of with married couple Pete (Mark Walhberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) who take buy and flip fixer-upper houses. One day, prompted by a comment made by their friends, “You ain’t never going to have kids”, Ellie considers alternatives to traditional childbirth. She looks at an adoption website and is instantly hooked by the pictures, which Pete is reluctant to view, but once he does, he too is hooked. Now it’s up to them to find the perfect kids and figure out how to make their house a home.
First off, looking at the pairing of the couple, the casting director did an exceptional job with Walhberg and Byrne. Honestly, at first glance, the film slightly caught my eye, but I was concerned by the rude humor that it portrayed in the trailer; however, that aside, the film is a heart felt story of what it’s like to foster and then have the children nearly taken away when the mother comes back. It’s almost comparative to Daddy’s Home, which Walhberg also starred in opposite Will Ferrell, however there were a few more serious moments in this that will actually make audiences tear up at different points. Ultimately, this film is probably one of the better stories that Wahlberg has starred in given its sensitive nature.
That, and being paired with Bryne (who early this year was featured in family film Peter Rabbit) sealed the deal. The bond that the two actors shared was very natural. They bounced off each other with traditional slap stick comedy that was subtle in nature and not too overbearing to the sensitive ear. She ultimately showed a similar compassion instantly for the children and tapped into her vulnerable side for the role.
The other notable actor is Isabela Moner, who played the eldest foster child Lizzie. As a relatively new actress, I must say she also impressed me with her ability to interact smoothly with both her young child actors as well as with Wahlberg and Byrne. She also held her own with regards to the humor that was brought out specifically by Wahlberg throughout the movie. Her opening line in the first scene with Walhberg and Byrne at the adoption agency, when she openly approaches and starts throwing out her own version of adult themed jokes made the audience laugh. Her humor also sympathizes the audience to the older teens caught up in the foster care system. Undoubtably, it’ll be interesting to see her mature as an actress (she will be seen next year as a live action Dora the Explorer.)
Overall, the storyline was adequate considering the theme and type of movie it was portraying. Easy to follow along, even the hardest of critics could find something to laugh at and sympathize with. Additionally, I found it to be a nice touch of including real life foster and adoption family photos as the credits rolled, thus emphasizing the real life realities that this film is based on.
Verdict: 4 out of 5
While I wouldn’t recommend for everyone, given its mild humor and language, overall Instant Family will have people laughing as well as tearing up at some of the heartfelt moments. It’s definitely one of the better comedy movies of Walhberg’s career, but don’t believe me, you got to see it for yourself and make your own decision.