Instant Family

The Plot:

Ellie (Rose Byrne) and Pete (Mark Wahlberg) enjoy their carefree marriage and are unsure if they want children.

Ellie has always entertained the idea of having a baby, but Pete thinks they have decided not to. However, a flippant remark from Pete regarding adoption spurs Ellie to entertain the idea.

Soon, they find themselves as foster parents for teen Lizzy (Isabella Moner) and her two younger siblings, Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and Lita (Julianna Gamiz). Immersed in parenthood, Pete and Ellie begin a journey fraught with heartache and stress, but one also of commitment and love – a perfect formula for a family.

Kent’s Take:

“Instant Family” is a comedy based in truth and offers a sobering and funny take on adoption and the courageous adults and children who work tirelessly to find their family.

Pete and Ellie are two home flippers who are used to risk in their business, now they take an even larger risk fostering children in order to adopt them. We laugh and cry in equal portions as this family struggles with mistrust, misplaced emotions and frustration, while Pete and Ellie stumble through “Parenting 101.”

Audiences are introduced to Pete and Ellie as a caring couple unsure of the vast commitment of adopting three children. Yet, when they see the inviting smiles and bright faces of available children, they melt and decide to move forward. Writer/director Sean Anders is himself an adoptive parent and it shows in the care he takes in balancing this story with the realities of adoption and comedy. Using a therapy group of lovable adoptive parents reveals that each adoption is unique – touching and hilarious.

The strength of this film comes in its honesty. For each laugh we are given is eventually counter-balanced with a sad fact of life for foster children – especially older ones. The inevitable ending to which this film alludes is welcomed – the journey is the important element and where this film warms our hearts.

Byrne is in her wheelhouse as fledgling mom working entirely too hard for little gratitude. Wahlberg is perfect as a typical husband avoiding conflict as much as possible, until his protective instincts kick in. Isabela Moner’s Lizzy charms viewers with her tough exterior and sensitive core – caring for her siblings while battling her mistrust of parents.

“Instant Family” is going to be an instant hit with audiences as this funny, uplifting, honest tribute to families of all shapes and sizes arrives in theaters just in time for holiday cheers.