We watch thousands of films in short amounts of time, making it harder for them to stay with you. That being said, the best way a film can leave an impact on you is when it makes you feel a certain way. If you are watching a movie and you barely feel anything from start to finish, then the film really sucked. But Instant Family didn’t suck, it actually pulled all kinds of emotions out of its audience, and left them with a heartwarming memorable feeling that they will likely long to experience again.
Instant Family follows laid-back married couple Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne), who decide to adopt a child, but end up adopting three siblings. Teenage troublemaker Lizzy (Isabela Moner), clumsy fragile Juan (Gustavo Quiroz), and tantrum queen Lita (Julianna Gamiz). The siblings give the couple a run for their money. With baggage from their rough childhood, and their bouncing around in the foster system, the children need all the nurturing they can get. Despite all this mayhem, Pete and Ellie get attached to the kids. Matters get even more complicated when the ex-addict mother gets out of jail and wants to regain custody of her kids.
The film seems like a heartwarming family comedy, and it definitely is. It is not, however, an accurate depiction of the foster system and what kids go through, even though it tackles these issues. The film addresses the foster system and sheds light on such topics, but is mainly created to make you laugh, and sometimes cry.
Instant Family’s sense of humour is unapologetic; it takes you to ridiculous lengths and is a non-stop laughter factory with jokes that are not necessarily too clever or complicated, but rather situations and reactions that are so ridiculous you just burst out laughing.
The film is able to create a magical and perfectly balanced combination of ridiculous comedy and sincerely emotional drama, making for a feature that would tug at your every emotion, and have you watching it more than once in the future.
As for the acting, Mark Wahlberg nails his role as a new and frightened father who doesn’t know what to say or do. Consequently, he says and does all the wrong things at the wrong times. Indeed, Wahlberg’s mere manner of saying a line, which could otherwise be mediocrely funny, makes it ten times funnier. Rose Byrne takes it a step further with just as much excellence in the funny aspects as in the drama. Byrne simply nails the emotional scenes with evocative facial expressions and voice tones. Right up there with Byrne, Isabela Moner is definitely a standout in this film. Not only does her hold her own against huge names like Wahlberg and Byrne, but she actually excels. Moner is able to convey her character with great depth; she employs all the tools at her disposal, including facial expressions, body language, and attitude. Julianna Gamiz also did a great job as a child actor with hilarious but realistic tantrums, stubbornness, and more. Playing a caseworker, Octavia Spencer was also another major source of laughter.
Instant Family is the kind of feature you can watch at any time and in any mood. Moreover, thanks to its mixture of sincerity and absurd comedy, you will be watching this one again for sure.