Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner
Director: Sean Anders
Running Time: 118 mins
Instant Family is an American film about a couple who decide to become foster parents to three children, but soon discover that bringing up kids entails a lot more than they expected.
This is an absolutely wonderful film. Not only a fun comedy with great laughs from beginning to end, Instant Family is also a huge surprise when it comes to its story. With a passionate, emotional and genuinely powerful account of the process of bringing up a child, as well as a riveting focus on the nature of foster care, it’s a movie that’s far more than may seem apparent at first, and as such makes for an amazing watch.
However, before I get into that, we’ll start off with the fact that the film is a good laugh. For all its dramatic depth, Instant Family is there to make you laugh, and it does that brilliantly right the way through. With a wide range of gags that all fit into its pleasant and fun-loving sense of humour, I was laughing on a regular basis throughout here, whether it be at the odd little bit of slapstick, or the genuinely impressive and sharp-witted screenplay.
As a result, it’s more than just your average two hours of easy-going comedy, but a genuinely funny watch that proves immensely entertaining throughout. And as well as the screenplay, the comedy works brilliantly thanks to some hugely enjoyable performances, with Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne working brilliantly together both when it comes to the comedy, as well as their immensely likable characters.
And that’s where we come onto the film’s story, because not only does Instant Family work hard to make you laugh, it also reigns itself in with a grounded, likable and relatable story. Somehow balancing the laughs with the drama, it proves an astoundingly engrossing and enjoyable watch, with a screenplay that’s able to simultaneously move you and entertain, and performances that have all the charisma needed for a fun comedy, but all the depth and talent for a genuinely touching drama too.
The story focuses on a couple who decide to take in three foster children, and soon come to learn of the trials of bringing up kids, as well as understanding more about the world of adopting, and the mentalities of children who find themselves in foster care.
It sounds like a pretty heavy premise for what at first seems like an easy comedy, but the film never holds back when it comes to real dramatic depth, often turning in an instant from sheer slapstick to genuine and moving drama, something that I can’t say I’ve seen in a very long time.
The characters’ motivations for taking in the children are realistic and relatable, and while they’re not the world’s most perfect parents, they’re also a clearly loving and caring couple. Combine that with an intimate and genuinely eye-opening look into the psyche of the children they take in, and you have a film that’s steeped in dramatic depth and emotion, engrossing you more and more throughout with a passionate and thoroughly touching story.
All in all, Instant Family is a truly wonderful film. A funny, entertaining and likable comedy, and somehow a dramatically enthralling, emotionally powerful and thematically rich film at the same time, it’s a hugely impressive watch, but one that will certainly touch you deeply, and make you laugh all the same, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.2.