It would be fair to say that Instant Family is classic formulaic film making. Split neatly into a four act comedy/drama. While never attempting to drastically push the boundaries of the genre it calls home. By the same token paying homage to a range of 80s and early 90s family films including Parenthood. However despite this Instant Family manages to hit all the right notes in all the right places. Ultimately creating a heartwarming and feel good comedy that honours its story.
Pete (Mark Wahlberg), and his wife, Ellie (Rose Byrne) decide to become foster parents, their minds filled with idealistic vision of what the role may bring to their lives. However both are immediately faced with realitiy, as teenager Lizzy (Isabela Moner), accident-prone Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and Lita (Julianna Gamiz) join the household. All three from Mexican heritage, with the film carefully acknowledging the risks of being labelled as white saviour picture.
Writer-director Sean Anders and his wife are both foster parents and this shines through in an unconventional but heartwarming script. While both the comedy and drama work to an established Hollywood formula.
This is a film that has no intention of sugarcoating fostering and adoption. Providing us with moments that shine a light on the turbulence of a childhood spent in multiple families. However, it also has no intention of pushing its audience too hard, opting for humour and emotion over anything too realistic at every hurdle. This is not in itself a criticism of a film that knows its audience and their expectations. Working hard to deliver the heartwarming comedy people will expect.
Equally performances are engaging, warm and tender. Providing the audience with stability as we head toward the inevitable happy ending. While also throwing in some truly touching and heartfelt explorations of the challenges inherent in adoption and fostering.
But what really makes this movie shine is it’s clear, concise and loving messages on fostering and adoption. Both demonstrating and celebrating those people (from all backgrounds) who give children in need the love, attention and warmth they deserve.
Director: Sean Anders