Finding a movie that’s part drama and part comedy isn’t always an easy feat. Often the film relies too little or too much on one over the other. It’s rare you find something that manages to pull the two genres together in a great blend of cinema. One of the films that promised to do this is Instant Family, a dramedy that’s as much about life as it is love.
Instant Family (2018) Film Review
Married happily for several years, Charlie and Ellie (Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne) feel as if they live a good life. But then, during a conversation with her sister, Ellie gets to thinking on why they’ve never had kids. The only answer Charlie comes up with is that Ellie never felt the time was right. There was college, then careers and now, their business flipping houses, something that affords them a nice lifestyle. Still, this doesn’t stop Ellie from looking up information on foster care. With a parade of small faces staring back at her from a computer screen, together, the couple steps into unknown territory.A favorite 'feel good' film with Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne. Don't miss the heartwarming 'Instant Family': A Comedy That Teaches of Life, and Love Click To Tweet
During a foster care event, they meet Lizzy (Isabela Moner), a 15-year-old with an attitude, and they love her. Despite their promise they’d never foster a teenager, Lizzy’s sass earns their attention. What they don’t know is Lizzie is a package deal. She comes with two younger siblings, a scenario Charlie nor Ellie can ever plan for.
We all know the saying, “When life hands you lemons…” and so the saying goes. There’s plaques and cute décor that centers on the age-old adage. This film embodies that kind of wisdom in the best possible way. It cultivates the lighthearted comedy the viewer craves with the life lessons of a good drama, which is the best kind of story. Inspired by true stories from foster care, this dramatization is easily one of my favorites. Not because it’s full of high-stakes action or a biopic of a historical figure, but rather because it knows how to capture an audience and tell a compelling story we care about.
These characters are so easy to like. Of course, they’re flawed and misguided, but it’s this that makes them likable. What I don’t love about the film is some of the misbehavior, but considering all that these kids have and do go through, they do earn some leeway, and deserve patience. Charlie and Ellie also have a realistic character arc. Even if we haven’t had fostering experience, we can understand some of their frustration and the emotional ups and downs they experience during these changes. The cast brings all of this to the surface with their memorable and dynamic performances.
Whether it’s the fantastic sense of humor this script boasts or the quiet moments of joy, Instant Family is really an “instant” feel-good favorite. There’s triumphs (that will make you smile with much joy) and lows (some of which might bring a tear), but the story line keeps its head and keeps things generally cheery. The balance between good and bad is admirable. It’s a story that reminds us, in a good way, of all the many things and reasons we should be thankful for each day. Family is important, and at the end of the day, it’s that family who stays with us even when things get tough.
Content: There’s some minor profanity, and some crude comments/innuendo (Lizzy is caught sending naked selfies, and a boy is confronted because of this). Nothing too terrible. The film is appropriately rated PG13.
Photos: Paramount Pictures