Instant Family

500 Days Of Film Reviews Instant Family Starring Mark Wahlberg And Rose Byrne

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.

Is It Any Good?

I have to admit that, after watching its first trailer (not, I hasten to add, the one featured below), I wasn’t all that interested in Instant Family. It looked for all the world like a cheesy comedy about clueless parents and competing nanas. I’ll pass…


However, as Sean Anders’s film neared its UK release, I began to hear some rather surprising reviews. Instant Family was actually good - funny, engaging and poignantly good. So, keeping an open mind, I booked my ticket.  


Well, I can confirm that Instant Family is an entertaining and moving film - inspired by a true story about the process of adopting children. I laughed pretty much all the way through when, that is, I wasn’t shedding the odd tear (or two).



Instant Family contains a surprising mix of broad, slapstick comedy and moments of important social commentary. We might well be laughing as someone falls down or gets a face full of sharpie, but all the while we are also thinking about the plight of children caught up in “the system”.


It is a tricky balance and, kudos, Instant Family manages to pull it off - thanks in large part to its impressive cast. While Mark Wahlberg is extremely likeable as Pete, it is Rose Byrne that does much of the movie’s heavy lifting - both in terms of comedy and drama. Hers is a performance full of warmth and charm. 


Beneath the laughs, there is an honesty to Byrne’s portrayal and to Instant Family as a whole. The movie is based on Anders’s own experiences with fostering and this insight saves Instant Family from being just another disposable comedy - leaving us with a film that is funny, thought provoking and moving.


Random Observations

Instant Family is rated 12. However, if you intend to watch this film with young children, note that it does include a fair bit of swearing and veers into some more grown-up content. Check out the BBFC’s Insight on the film for more details.  


Have you seen Instant Family?


If you have, what did you think of this film? Let me know in the comments section below or over on Twitter. You can find me @500DaysOfFilm.


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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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