Rose Byrne and Mark Wahlberg star in this touching story about foster care adoption. Instant Family review, brought to you by AboutFlick’s Mr T.
Director: Brady Corbet
Review: Instant Family is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a touching story about foster care adoption that aims to tug at the heartstrings. The plot seems familiar territory for director Sean Anders, whose body of work mainly consists of slapstick comedies around unconventional families. The movie features an ensemble cast comprising veterans like Rose Byrne, Mark Wahlberg, Octavia Spencer and Margo Martindale.
Rose Byrne has made a career out of starring in comedy dramas like Juliet, Naked (2018), Spy (2015) and I Give It a Year (2013), and this one doesn’t feel any different. She offers an assured performance as a generous middle-aged woman named Ellie, who stands up for what’s right. Mark Wahlberg is quite pleasant to watch, as well as Ellie’s husband Pete. The talents of Octavia Spencer and Margo Martindale are never really utilized, and they are found playing often repeated stereotypes we have seen before. I found Isabela Moner’s spunky teen Lizzie to actually be quite believable, as she doesn’t appear to overdo it.
Instant Family isn’t afraid to explore complex issues, like why varied people from different backgrounds and life choices adopt – infertility, sheer selflessness, or some just to get the child care costs provided by the government. The film sprinkles a bit of fun and goofiness everywhere, and offers important life lessons along the way.
However, there are also awkward moments that feel contrived, and token personalities who only exist to evoke laughter due to their social awkwardness and competitiveness. Sean Anders doesn’t miss a single opportunity to use inspiring speeches or over-dramatize pivotal plot points. The characters are never fully developed, and appear somewhat superficial. The script is as formulaic as it gets, and doesn’t seem organic at all. With a cathartic and predictable ending, Instant Family ultimately ends up as a forgettable film meant for one-time viewing on the weekends with your folks.
Rating: My rating for Instant Family is 2.5/5.
Who should watch this: If you like light hearted dramas, you should watch Instant Family. You should also check out The Blind Side (2009), Lion (2016), Game Night (2018), Tag (2018), Ideal Home (2018) and Carnage (2011).