Instant Family


Instant Family  ★★

Director Sean Anders’ latest defied my low expectations, as it’s far less broad and vapid than the disposable pair of Daddy’s Home movies he made in Massachusetts. And while Mark Wahlberg headlines this film as well as the Daddy’s flicks, even the Dorchester native seems to be more fully invested in this movie. A semi-autobiographical picture spawned from Anders’ experience fostering and eventually adopting three siblings with his wife, the movie features Wahlberg as Pete, a general contractor who flips houses with his real estate agent wife, Ellie (Rose Byrne, continuing an onscreen winning streak that began with August’s delightful comedy, Juliet, Naked). Without much forethought, the couple decides to start a family, a journey that leads them into the world of foster care adoption. Intending only to take in a small child, instead they stumble into a package deal consisting of two girls and a boy, ranging in age from 5 to 15. Lita (Jane the Virgin’s Julianna Gamiz) is the youngest, prone to emotional outbursts that are seemingly only tamed by her too-cool-to-be-bothered teenage sister, Lizzy (Sicario: Day of the Soldado’s Isabela Moner). Then there’s Juan (Peppermint’s Gustavo Quiroz), the accident-prone middle child who retreats from the first sign of conflict. Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and comedian Tig Notaro lend moral support as a pair of social workers who act as our guides to the foster system, while Margo Martindale (The Americans) is reliably terrific as Pete’s mother, who’s thrilled to be an instant grandma. (At Assembly Row,Boston Common, Fenway, South Bay and in the suburbs.)

Related Articles

Comments are closed.