Director: Sean Anders
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner
Release Date: March 5, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
When Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) choose to start a family, they stumble headfirst into the world of foster care adoption. After they learn their perfect foster child comes with two other siblings, Pete and Ellie find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight and must hilariously learn the ropes of instant parenthood if they hope to become a real family. Inspired by a true story, INSTANT FAMILY also stars Isabela Moner, Margo Martindale, Julie Hagerty, and Octavia Spencer.
Inspired by a true story, ‘Instant Family’ accompanies married couple and talented house flippers Pete (Wahlberg) and Ellie (Byrne) who after spending so much of their time dedicated to building their business have finally decided it may be time to settle down and start a family. Already further into their adult years than they might like, they decide to consider fostering a child for adoption. After a witty teenage girl catches their attention, they decide to go all out and foster (with the hope of adopting) her as well as her two younger siblings. But going from a life focused on careers to that filled with three children whose love and respect they must also win over is going to be one wild ride filled with chaos, love and a great deal of patience if they hope to make their new family work.
Directed by Sean Anders (Daddy’s Home 1 & 2) from a screenplay that he additionally co-wrote along with regular collaborator John Morris (Daddy’s Home, Hot Tub Time Machine), Anders does a magnificent job at the helm of ‘Instant Family’ passionately guiding along both the film’s fun moments and the more emotional ones with care. The film also owes a tremendous amount of credit to the talented and perfectly select cast which includes Mark Wahlberg (Transformers: The Last Knight), Rose Byrne (Neighbors), Isabela Moner (Sicario: Day of the Soldado), Margo Martindale (August Osage County), Julie Hagerty (TV’s Trial & Error), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water), Tig Notaro (Dog Days) and more, nearly all providing spot on performances in each of their respective roles and helping to always keep the film feeling as natural and down to earth as it does.
‘Instant Family’ is a magnificent little surprise of a film that’s filled with heart and a perfectly fitting sense of humor to compliment the emotion it exudes. One of those rare family comedy films that manage to find a solid middle ground where it’s able to keep things consistently funny while rarely at the cost of detracting from the heart and importance within. Wisely opting for keeping things fairly realistic and focusing on the bad as well as the good, it comes together into a powerful film that’s as emotionally powerful as it is hilarious. Without a doubt one of the finest comedy films from last year that I’ve had the pleasure of, it’s hard not to fall in love with it from the onset and once the relationships and family elements start to settle in, it really finds itself and grows into something special. Lovingly directed by Sean Anders and his careful guidance is greatly complimented by a perfectly selected cast led by Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne who all help to make this one work so smoothly. I would strongly encourage anyone that is already even the slightest bit interested in the movie to make a serious point of giving ‘Instant Family’ a whirl whenever you might find the chance. It’s a touching, funny and incredibly entertaining family comedy that you won’t want to miss out on.
Overall, ‘Instant Family’ is a spectacular film that’s consistently fun, often hilarious and even surprisingly moving much of the time. It’s a wonderful treat of a film that never loses itself in balancing the genres and manages to truly become something quite special, not to mention one of the very best comedy movies of last year. I can’t recommend ‘Instant Family’ strongly enough. It’s a humorous and heartwarming film that delivers on every front and should be well worth two hours of your time and the price of a rental at the very least. Chances are that you’ll only end up pleasantly surprised if you’re currently on the fence about the film, and might also just find yourself contemplating a purchase down the road; it’s certainly one I’ll probably end up revisiting sooner than later myself.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Instant Family’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful as a whole and delivers a clean, sharp and smooth presentation from start to finish, with no noticeable faults or issues to be uncovered along the way. It holds up perfectly even during the fast moving and heavily populated moments, never causing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Paramount that delivers in every way required of it and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release features a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, crisp and at times fairly active audio presentation throughout. It often embraces all seven available channels in order to send music, along with some nature effects, crowd chatter and other fitting audio activity throughout the various speakers on a number of occasions, and never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a great 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that does a great job of complimenting the onscreen fun and never falters for a moment.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Instant Family’ includes a nice collection of bonus content that fans of the film should appreciate. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director/Writer Sean Anders and Writer John Morris’, in addition to some ‘Deleted and Extended Scenes’ from the movie with Introductions by Sean Anders and John Morris (running approximately 11 minutes in length altogether). We are also treated to various Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore the inspiration behind the story and bringing it to life, featuring interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The Included Featurettes are: ‘Mr. and Mrs. Fix-It’ (running approximately 4 minutes), ‘Kid Power’ (approximately 9 minutes), ‘I Need Some Support’ (5 minutes), ‘Order in the Court’ (4 minutes), ‘The Families Behind the Fair’ (9 minutes), ‘Crew Inspiration’ (5 minutes), ‘The Anders Family’ (7 minutes) and ‘On Set Proposal’ (2 minutes). A ‘Gag Reel’ (approximately 3 minutes) and the ‘Isabela Moner, “I’ll Stay” – Promotional Music Video’ (3 minutes) are also included.