Instant Family: Film Review

I’m not always Mark Wahlberg‘s biggest fan and he has starred in his fair share of duff films – namely the Daddy’s Home movies – but Instant Family won me over completely.

Based on the life of writer/director Sean Anders, Instant Family stars Wahlberg and Rose Byrne as Pete and Ellie, a married couple with a thriving property development business. After steering away from baby talk for years they decide to foster a child with the view to adopt, but the girl they like, 15-year-old Lizzy (Isabela Moner), comes with two siblings – Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and Lita (Julianna Gamiz) – and they cannot be separated, so Mark and Rose decide to foster all three. They soon realise they are in over their heads when they go from the two of them to a family of five overnight.

Instant Family is a charming comedy that made me laugh a lot, but it is also surprisingly moving. The sad moments really touched me and I found myself having a little cry! You become really invested in these characters and want them to be a proper, happy family.

The film isn’t perfect the entire way through – there are some obvious attempts at humour that didn’t work as well as the organic stuff but the central story was excellent and I was captivated watching these new familial relationships change and grow and seeing how they challenge and then learn to love each other.

I thought Byrne and Wahlberg were a strong dynamic duo. They really worked well together and although I didn’t buy their romantic chemistry, they were a great team and good at bouncing jokes and ideas of each other. It was nice to see this edgy, emotional side of Moner after seeing her in action flicks like Transformers: The Last Knight. Quiroz and Gamiz were fun, as were Margo Martindale and Julie Hagerty as their wacky new grandparents, while Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro were a perfect comedy duo as the fostering advisers Karen and Sharon.

Instantly Family was a touch too long and had some weaknesses in the script but the relationships and dialogue felt so realistic and well observed (until the ending) and it was so heartwarming and uplifting. I highly recommend if you want something to cheer you up.

In cinemas from Thursday 14th February 

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