Instant Family is just an all-around decent movie. It’s a good flick to see during holiday season because it has a nice message about family – in all its messy stages. So, Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) have a good life – their flipping home business is solid, their dog is happy to see them, and they enjoy date nights. What more could they need? Tick-tock – maybe kids? Maybe fostering a kid to adopt?
They attend an open house, take the eight week class, and stumble into Lizzie (Isabela Moner) at an adoption fair. This wise fifteen year-old has lived the system. She’s bright and wary. AND, she has a brother, Juan, and little sister, Lita. All so endearing. Pete and Ellie say yes and take in upheaval. Kids are messy, needy, sensitive, worried – they’ve lived with so much doubt in their young lives. It’s tough to trust and believe they won’t be sent back.
Yes, those are underlying themes in this movie filled with laugh out loud moments. Based on the true story by the director, Instant Family, has anger, frustration, and doubt – from the adults and the kids. The real mom gets out of jail and might get the kids back. That sparks some reactions from all sides. You root for the family to work, and for love itself to take root. It’s a tough subject that’s handled well in a very entertaining fashion. Mark and Rose and solid actors who shine as a couple who cares, without being too saintly. The kids are great too. I enjoyed my two hours hanging with this crew.