Instant Family Kicks Right in the Feels

A well-intentioned film that manages to be sincere and funny at the same time!

Plot6
Script7.5
Directing7
Acting8
Humour8
Reader Rating1 Vote7.5
The Good
Great acting
Genuinely funny
Genuinely feel good
The Sad
There're just too many kids in the foster care system.
People are okay with adopting pets, but insist on making their own kids.
It's time to bring an end to the stigma attached to fostering/adopting! Just do it!
7.3

Some audience are born with the feels, some achieve the feels, and some have the feels thrust upon them.

And some get kicked right in the nuts of the feels.

Instant Family is a lethal feels kicker.

Written and directed by Sean Anders with John Morris on screenplay, Instant Family is partially inspired by Anders’ own experience with the with foster and adoption system, resulting in what may be his best film to date.

Make no mistake, up till now, Anders has verged largely on the negative end of the directing spectrum. Light laugh flicks like Daddy’s Home, Horrible Bosses, and both their sequels, are easily outweighed by travesties such as That’s My Boy and Dumb and Dumber To. That said, Anders’ films have always worn their heart on the their sleeves, packing an earnest sincerity to tell stories that people can relate to. And it is this that finally pays off with Instant Family.

Reuniting with Mark Wahlberg for their third flick together, Instant Family holds no punches with the severity of the American (and global) foster care system. With the number of children going without homes increasing, and with the ease of exploiting the system for financial gain, homeless minors are quickly becoming an epidemic.

Understanding that, at its core, the film is a PSA for adoption, the script throws every challenge and stigma for being a foster parent at the audience, ranging from childhood trauma to the “Avatar Complex” (that’s a not-so-racist way of referring to the “White Saviour Complex”), and taking a stop over to remind viewers of the painful challenges that come with raising any child or teenager.

While casting, and the resultant acting, is often contentious for just about any movie that so heavily features child actors, Instant Family strikes the jackpot with three talented child actors. Pleasantly surprising is Isabelle Moner’s show-stealing acting, proving that just ’cause she’s paired with Mark Wahlberg on a big screen, it doesn’t mean they’re being chased by alien robots.

The true MVPs however, are Tig Notaro and Octavia Spencer who are easily the most delightful pair on screen. While Rose Byrne and Mark Wahlberg both deliver powerful performances, Notaro’s deadpan disposition and Spencer’s cynical outlook on life frame the reality for the children trapped in this vicious cycle.

Ultimately, despite all the fun that Instant Family is, its greatest achievement is in being a steadfast messenger and a film with a cause.

Instant Family is out now, and may be the Christmasiest option this season.

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