‘Instant Family’ will pull heartstrings

On-screen foster family feels impactful, real; characters act convincingly in feel-good movie

TRINITY PIERCE, Evergreen columnist

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Last weekend, the Student Entertainment Board played the last movie for the month of January. That movie was “Instant Family,” which features a blend of comedy and drama.

“Instant Family” is a heartwarming story about a couple who decide to adopt in order to start a family. However, when adopting one child becomes adopting three, their lives are irreversibly changed.

The movie follows the family on a personal journey as they try to learn to get along and deal with the punches life throws at them. Things become even more interesting because of the children’s ages, ranging from fifteen to about seven years of age.

The cast of “Instant Family” features Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne as Pete and Ellie Wagner, a happy couple who flip houses and, after an argument with Ellie’s sister, decide to consider fostering a child. Isabela Moner, Gustavo Quiroz Jr. and Julianna Gamiz play the foster children, Lizzie, Juan and Lita.

Going into this movie, I’ll admit that I expected a stereotypical, predictable, super-cheesy family film. What I got, however, was a predictable, sometimes-cheesy family comedy with some surprisingly emotional moments.

To begin, the actors portrayed their roles as Pete and Ellie convincingly. Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne had decent on-screen chemistry.

Thus, the interactions between their characters didn’t suffer or feel forced. Pete and Ellie’s struggles with fostering not just one, but three children, were shown honestly, and made moments like Juan calling Ellie “Mom” even more impactful.

Lizzie was definitely one of the most memorable characters in the movie. It was heartbreaking to see a young fifteen-year-old who had been forced into a parenting role at an extremely young age. Lizzie had to serve as a parent for her own siblings, and it was sad to see her long to leave that role and regain her biological mom.

Isabela Moner did a fantastic job playing Lizzie. Of course, the fact that the actress who played Lizzie was actually a teenager and not a 35-year old woman pretending to be one probably contributed to that.

Interestingly, “Instant Family” is based on the director and co-writer Sean Anders’ experience with adoption, as Anders and his wife also adopted three kids (who were also all siblings). This adds a layer of authenticity, as the film doesn’t shy away from dealing with both the positive and negative experiences of adopting or fostering a child.

“Instant Family” receives the rating of 3/5 stars. Although the movie certainly isn’t Oscar-worthy, it’s a feel-good family movie that provides some comedy with a dose of real life. The acting isn’t anything particularly special, and the movie is overall forgettable, but it’s a good way to enjoy some comedy while also occasionally being roundhouse-kicked in the feels.