Film Review: Instant Family • Glam Adelaide
Still from Instant Family

Film Review: Instant Family

Sean Anders’s comedy-drama about adoption and family.


This film is one of the best family films I have seen in a long time. I took my 11-year-son with me and in his words Instant Family is the best film seen all year; my son cried twice and laughed lots. As for me, I both cried and laughed multiple times.

Sean Anders and Mark Wahlberg have worked together with hilarious results before with Daddy’s Home and Daddy’s Home 2 and Instant Family doesn’t disappoint. This time however, it is a little different; Instant Family is based on real life events of director Sean Anders and family.

Mark Wahlberg plays the role of Pete as the father with Rose Byrne as the mother Ellie. The wealthy couple flip houses for a living and in unplanned pregnancy style adopt three Latino children. The three children, with Isabela Montana being the standout, as the eldest performs the dual role of rebellious teen and surrogate mother of her two younger siblings.

Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro are the social workers assisting them with the adoption process and along with the support group scenes, highlight the challenges of the foster care system and adoption in a heartfelt yet highly amusing way.

Margo Martindale as Grandma Sandy is over the top and immediately endearing, with some of the rest of the extended family roles befitting some uncomfortable truths of negativity and stigma foster parents endure when making the decision to adopt.

Many a comedic film has been made about families and family challenges of all kinds however Instant Family would have to be a first; I have not yet seen a mainstream film about an adopted family in a non-serious format. It is simply impossible to watch this film without laughter, compassion and being thoroughly engaged, there is something in it for everyone.

Instant Family opens on January 10.

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