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Instant Family (2018)

mattCR

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Title: Instant Family (2018)

Tagline: Just add chaos, laughter, awkwardness, mistakes, love.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Director: Sean Anders

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner, Margo Martindale, Julie Hagerty, Tig Notaro, Octavia Spencer, Gustavo Quiroz Jr., Julianna Gamiz, Allyn Rachel, Tom Segura, Michael O'Keefe, Britt Rentschler, Jody Thompson, Iliza Shlesinger, Gary Weeks, Joy Jacobson, Hampton Fluker, Randy Havens, Andrea Anders, Kenneth Israel, Joan Cusack, Valente Rodriguez, Carson Holmes, Connor Jones, Jaiden Byrd, James Arthur Sims, Rosemary Dominguez, Javier Ronceros, Eve Harlow, Nicholas Logan, Charlie McDermott, Joselin Reyes, Erika Bierman, Sarah Kirkpatrick, John McConnell, Maureen Brennan, Kelly Tippens, Layla Felder, Allen Zwolle, Stella Doyle, Andrene Ward-Hammond, Denitra Isler, Remy Ortiz, William J. Simmons, Maria Wilson

Release: 2018-11-16

Runtime: 120

Plot: When Pete and Ellie decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of foster care adoption. They hope to take in one small child but when they meet three siblings, including a rebellious 15 year old girl, they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight.

Instant Family (2018) Went to see this last night.. maybe not as big of a push as other films, but this was a great, heartfelt film that I thought really worked. The comedy was funny, realistic and worked; and when it went for the heartstrings i thought it worked.

I loved the storyline, and thought the characters were great. A lot of fun. A-

 

mattCR

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Argh, I screwed up in creating a new thread for Instant Family.. hoping someone can fix. I grabbed IMDB not thinking, and forgot it needed to be TMBD
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Instant Family (2018) Went to see this last night.. maybe not as big of a push as other films, but this was a great, heartfelt film that I thought really worked. The comedy was funny, realistic and worked; and when it went for the heartstrings i thought it worked.

I loved the storyline, and thought the characters were great. A lot of fun. A-
I agree. You go in expecting a broad Mark Wahlberg comedy, and what you get is a deeper dramedy about foster care.

Lizzie, Juan, and Lita were not on the severe end of the trauma spectrum when it comes to foster care kids, mainly because Lizzie was so strong and composed and Juan and Lita had her looking out for them.

At the same time, it didn't completely sugarcoat foster care, even among the population of foster parents looking to ultimately adopt, as opposed to the ones who house kids for the paycheck. A lot of fucked up things can happen, and the movie didn't shy away from the inappropriate but essential humor that comes out of that.

The second half of the movie worked better for me than the first half, when things got a bit realer and Pete and Ellie really committed to being parents. There were a number of moments where they had to choose between doing what was right for them and doing what was right for the kids, and -- with one staggeringly funny exception -- they always did what was right for the kids, even though it was really hard. You don't see too many protagonists in comedies act like adults, but at crucial moments Pete and Ellie did.

Lizzie, the oldest of the three kids, is so well-written and acted. The character could have easily been written as a juvenile delinquent, but there is so much more going on here. She is fiercely protective of her younger siblings, and many of the actions she takes throughout the movie are to protect them and put them first. Lizzie sees that Pete and Ellie will be a better foster situation, and works very hard to smooth the way to make it happen. And then, once they're there, she watches them like a hawk. Isabela Moner is so present in every scene, even the ones where she's not the focal point, even the ones where she doesn't have any lines. She doesn't relinquish any authority over her siblings to them until they've earned it. It's the first thing I've seen her in where she's playing a teenager instead of a younger kid, and she just hits it out of the park.

At the same time, Lizzie is a fifteen-year-old kid and the movie sees and understands that she's a kid. The bad decisions she makes are decisions rooted in the behavior she's seen modeled her entire life, and the issues of self-worth that naturally arise from being bounced around a system as brutal as foster care. The movie doesn't see her journey as primarily one from making bad decisions to good decisions. It sees her journey as a journey from having to be an adult, far too early in life, to being able to regain a bit of childhood before it's gone for good. The movie is in Lizzie's corner, Moner earns it with her performance, and that make a character that would have been obnoxious in a lesser movie actually kind of extraordinary.

Some really great supporting performances here. Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro were great as the two social workers operating the foster care to adoption program. Despite very different personalities, they're both seasoned professionals with realistic expectations who nevertheless care deeply about the children in their program. They're sort of like the Greek chorus of the film. As Pete's mother, Margo Martindale gives a performance that will catch you by surprise; the character storms into the movie so brash and broad that I initially wondered why the role required an actress of Martindale's caliber. So when she gets real with Pete and Ellie late in the movie, providing some insight derived from her own trauma, it's all the more powerful for being so unexpected. As Ellie's mother, Julie Hagerty gives a sublimely odd performance, one completely uncompromised by vanity.

And the end credits were surprisingly moving.
 

benbess

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Good movie. A bit "artificial" in a few places for my tastes, but the movie has humor and heart. My rating: "B+"
 

SamT

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Just saw this. This movie is real real good. I give it 9/10. At the beginning don't know for how long, maybe the first 30-40 mins it was full comedy and it didn't fully work. I was thinking this is a little lame but watchable, the movie slowly gets better and the moment they are not trying full comedy and the dramedy kicks in, it gets exponentially better and never leaves you indifferent. So keep watching.
 

Robert Crawford

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I agree. You go in expecting a broad Mark Wahlberg comedy, and what you get is a deeper dramedy about foster care.

Lizzie, Juan, and Lita were not on the severe end of the trauma spectrum when it comes to foster care kids, mainly because Lizzie was so strong and composed and Juan and Lita had her looking out for them.

At the same time, it didn't completely sugarcoat foster care, even among the population of foster parents looking to ultimately adopt, as opposed to the ones who house kids for the paycheck. A lot of fucked up things can happen, and the movie didn't shy away from the inappropriate but essential humor that comes out of that.

The second half of the movie worked better for me than the first half, when things got a bit realer and Pete and Ellie really committed to being parents. There were a number of moments where they had to choose between doing what was right for them and doing what was right for the kids, and -- with one staggeringly funny exception -- they always did what was right for the kids, even though it was really hard. You don't see too many protagonists in comedies act like adults, but at crucial moments Pete and Ellie did.

Lizzie, the oldest of the three kids, is so well-written and acted. The character could have easily been written as a juvenile delinquent, but there is so much more going on here. She is fiercely protective of her younger siblings, and many of the actions she takes throughout the movie are to protect them and put them first. Lizzie sees that Pete and Ellie will be a better foster situation, and works very hard to smooth the way to make it happen. And then, once they're there, she watches them like a hawk. Isabela Moner is so present in every scene, even the ones where she's not the focal point, even the ones where she doesn't have any lines. She doesn't relinquish any authority over her siblings to them until they've earned it. It's the first thing I've seen her in where she's playing a teenager instead of a younger kid, and she just hits it out of the park.

At the same time, Lizzie is a fifteen-year-old kid and the movie sees and understands that she's a kid. The bad decisions she makes are decisions rooted in the behavior she's seen modeled her entire life, and the issues of self-worth that naturally arise from being bounced around a system as brutal as foster care. The movie doesn't see her journey as primarily one from making bad decisions to good decisions. It sees her journey as a journey from having to be an adult, far too early in life, to being able to regain a bit of childhood before it's gone for good. The movie is in Lizzie's corner, Moner earns it with her performance, and that make a character that would have been obnoxious in a lesser movie actually kind of extraordinary.

Some really great supporting performances here. Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro were great as the two social workers operating the foster care to adoption program. Despite very different personalities, they're both seasoned professionals with realistic expectations who nevertheless care deeply about the children in their program. They're sort of like the Greek chorus of the film. As Pete's mother, Margo Martindale gives a performance that will catch you by surprise; the character storms into the movie so brash and broad that I initially wondered why the role required an actress of Martindale's caliber. So when she gets real with Pete and Ellie late in the movie, providing some insight derived from her own trauma, it's all the more powerful for being so unexpected. As Ellie's mother, Julie Hagerty gives a sublimely odd performance, one completely uncompromised by vanity.

And the end credits were surprisingly moving.
I watched this today in 4K/Dolby Vision on iTunes. It's a good film and I agree with pretty much everything you had to say about it. IMO, the supporting roles help make this a better film to me. Moner has a bright future ahead of her. My film grade is a 4 on a scale of 1-5.
 
Movie information in first post provided by The Movie Database

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