Thursday, July 16, 2020

Review Instant Family (2018)

#InstantFamily (2018): 7/10

Writer/Director Sean Anders brings us Instant Family, a family comedy drama inspired by his real life experiences as the father of three adopted Hispanic children, and once again brings Mark Wahlberg (‘Ted’, ‘Pain & Gain’) on board, the two previously working together on the ‘Daddy’s Home’ films. Wahlberg and Rose Byrne (‘Bridesmaids’, ‘Bad Neighbours‘) are Pete and Ellie, the couple at the centre of the story who decide to try and foster children when they see an online advertisement.

Many will have reservations about the film having witnessed a trailer full of clich├ęd slapstick comedy routines, screaming young kids, and cases of mistaken identity; the film certainly does contain a lot of silly humour, but manages to stay on the right side of charming. Where the film really excels though is its insight into the world of fostering, and the real challenges ahead for the eager parents and foster kids. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, both heart -warming and -breaking, and opens your eyes as to what children in the fostering system have to go through, and sudden changes of circumstance. There is more drama on offer than you might think.

Isabela Moner is a revelation in the role of teenage foster girl Lizzy, and easily the film’s stand-out. A girl desperate for her biological mother to “get clean” and prove herself fit enough to be able to take her and her siblings back under her wing, Lizzy wrestles with her feelings of rejection and betrayal on a daily basis, feelings brilliantly portrayed by Moner, for what must be only the start of a long and successful career.

Hats off to Anders and co. for this really quite emotional and touching comedy drama about a subject matter that will really punch you in the gut but still leave you with a huge smile on your face at the film’s conclusion. It may just inspire you to want to learn more about fostering, and even foster children of your own. You’ve been warned!

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