Instant Family review
Thanksgiving is almost upon us. During this time of turkey and parades, I can say that I'm already thankful for the home that my parents have given me and my brother. It wasn't until my friends started to have their own children that I didn't understand how much it changes them. Gone are the late night parties. Gone are the easy vacations. Gone is the freedom to eat whatever you want. It's not that these things need to be followed, but in order to be a great parent, that involves not only raising a little one, but raising yourself.
Parents can understand that, but once they become critical about their kids, they then have to take a look at themselves to see if their following their own philosophy. It's a lot like when parents don't want their kids eating sweets, even though they may sneak in a cupcake when their not looking. Everything comes back to what kind of example are they and how can that make everyone's lives better. My parents are not the same people they were in their twenties, but they still seem like genuinely happy people. See how two people rethink their lives in Instant Family.
Pete (played by Mark Wahlberg) and Elle (played by Rose Byrne) Wagner are a happily married couple and successful home flippers who seem to be enjoying their situation. The thought of kids haven't crossed their mind, but after hearing about how foster care kids are in need of better environments, they both decide to go to an orientation. They are shown by social workers Karen (played by Octavia Spencer) and Sharon (played by Tig Notaro) about how hard it's going to be. They also show that the kids that often don't get selected are teenagers.
They go to a foster open house where they see plenty of other people looking for little kids. Elle notices the teens are being left alone, but does speak a bit with a spunky girl Lizzy (played by Isabella Moner). After considering, they decide to take her. What they don't realize is that she also comes with her two siblings, a boy Juan and a girl Lita. Still, they accept and set up their home the best they can to make it confortable. While dealing with raising children and a teenager, they also deal with the social services, a support group, and the kids original mother being released from prison.
Instant Familyknows what it wants to be; a family friendly, comedy-drama that wants to portray the complexities of raising other peoples kids and the foster care system. I admire them gratefully for doing so, because this is a movie that'll hit the right spots for it's audience. I'm probably not in that demographic, but I was surprised by not only how much they let Mark Wahlberg be…himself, but it was willing to go into the darker issues…or at least as much as it can with a family-friendly tone.
Most parents can agree that raising teenagers is tough and the movies focus is on Lizzie and her relationships with everyone. Not just being a new daughter, but as someone whose had to play a second mother for her siblings. This is why Isabella Monor, who was in Sicario 2, may be my favorite player. She has the angst of an ordinary teenager, but you can feel that extra weight she's had to deal with. I kind of wish more could have been gone into with the younger siblings, as they seem to be more like one note kids; ones a scaredy-cat and the other only wants what she wants. It's fine to take that, but I think both could have benefited from exploring their relationship with their original mother.
I'll give this three family dinners out of five. While this is not for me, it's harmless enough that I can still recommend this for families or anyone in general who care about children. It may be playing it safe in some areas, but there are some smart choices to. If your in that mindset, check it out and be thankful for own parents.