By Mary Cox
“Instant Family” is a warm, funny and poignant film about a forty-something couple who decide they are ready for a family, Ellie (Rose Byrne) sees a program about foster parenting to adopt and talks her husband Pete, (Mark Wahlberg), into taking classes.
They go to a party where they are supposed to find their child. Thinking that they want a young child, Ellie is horrified when Pete is attracted to the teens and tells him they want a little kid. Lizzy, (Isabela Moner), who overhears them explains to them that no one wants to adopt teens and they know it so they don’t even bother to interact. They decide to foster Lizzy then find out from the Social Workers, (Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro) that Lizzy comes with baggage. She also has a young brother and sister. Pete and Ellie have an “Instant Family”. Then the fun begins and it ain’t easy.
Sean Anders, who directed and contributed to the writing based the story on his own family. John Morris also wrote the script.
I think this is one of the best films I have seen Mark Wahlberg in years. Rose Byrne, who starred earlier this year in “Peter Rabbit” was a little too over the top for my taste. Isabela Moner is an up and comer. She’s excellent in the role of Lizzy, a teen-ager who is in an emotional turmoil because she has been rejected over and over by her birth mother, a meth addict who has spent time in jail.
I love Olivia Spencer. She brings magic to every role she’s in and “Instant Family” is no exception. She and Tig Notaro really play off of each other well in every scene they are in.
Margo Martindale as Grandma Sandy is hysterical. She is immediately the stereotypical Grandmother smoothing the kids with love and kisses and presents.
This is a wonderful film and should be seen by everyone who wants to laugh, to cry and feel good when they leave the film. I loved it and want to see it again. It also lets people know the good, bad and ugly about foster parenting which is something empty nester may want to do even if they don’t plan to adopt. There are thousands of kids out there who need a good home.
“Instant Family” is now showing at AMC Eastgate Showplace 6 and AMC Showplace Edwardsville 12.