Family, a blessing and curse at many times. It is a source of conversation and entertainment that Hollywood loves to rub in our faces. Hence, when you get movies that are about making fun of families in super ridiculous manners, one can’t help but lower expectations on the quality of these films. So yours truly walked in with low expectations of tonight’s review, thinking I was in store for more silly slapstick tricks. What lies in store for this film past the trailers? Robbie K here hoping to fill you in on another detailed review as we explore:
Movie: Instant Family (2018)
Comedy: The movie is indeed a comedic adventure into foster parenting, and while the likes of Daddy’s Home seemed to ring hard in the trailer for me, that wasn’t the case in this film. Instant Family manages to achieve the fleeting goal of balancing styles of laughter including slapstick antics, banter, insult humor, and crossing boundaries with cursing. Such a style allows for the gimmicks to remain fresh over the course of the movie and bring with it plenty of guffaws, chortles, and whatever sounds you make with humor.
The Story: Heartwarming is certainly the element of this tale, doing a fantastic job of the inspiration from the stories of foster families. Instant Family crosses into the realms of this unique parenting setting, bringing all the issues and emotions that come with it. It’s simplistic, linear tale allows for many things to be stuffed into the film, working hard to keep to its roots, but explored the small hairs that help absorb the dynamic material that the writers seeded it with. As such, the story has enough components to make my next few likes further support the film.
Fun: To be family friendly for some, means to tread down the “pure” path where only G-rated jokes and language can be instilled in the movie. While I can acknowledge this, it limits the audiences who can enjoy this to the fullest. Fortunately, Instant Family saw this and managed to find that balance of styles to keep it relatively PG to PG-13, opening up to more audience members and keeping the film very fun to watch. Yes, there is language, and a few more adult themes not made for sensitive ears.
Emotional: Some of my friends have stated they teared up at just the trailer alone. Well, the audience in my showing today was sobbing, sniffling, and tearing up at the feelings thrown into the mix. And while preachy at times, Instant Family sells the lessons in full force, captivating you further into the film and really selling the love this family was trying to portray. It brings so many wonderful feelings out into the light, which will be a wonderful compliment to the film.
Relatable: Certainly we aren’t all in foster programs, but Instant Family brings with it enough issues about a variety of topics to find something relate to. How to handle anger, how to deal with out of control kids, teenage angst issues, love, confidence, and plenty of other pieces that maybe we could all stand to learn. As such, the story had a greater effect on me, allowing me to sort of place myself in each character’s shoes and enjoy seeing how the characters grew during the trials they faced. If you are like me, the relatability of a film can really bring an extra factor to the movie and I feel this film will affect the people in a positive way to further enhance the film.
Balance: The key to the success of this movie is balance. Over all the likes mentioned in the previous categories, the underlying foundation is that the director and writers managed to find a way to make all these styles work together. Outside of all the aforementioned categories, Instant Family also found a way to utilize the characters very well. The kids limitations and character’s annoying habits are fine tuned to reach that equilibrium between annoying and too underdone. Wahlberg’s talents weren’t overdone and Byrne managed to rain her normal maneuvers to new levels that again seemed very well tuned. As such, Instant Family managed to surprise me with how they juggled so many plots, morals, and other components in such a short time. That was the key to taking this movie to new levels and something other films need to study for future film making.
The Predictability: A small dislike in the grand scheme of things, Instant Family does not deviate far from the formulaic presentation that Hallmark has made famous. A few twists and turns could have provided some opportunity for even deeper growth, or perhaps a few more montages of the fun times to help dilute the predictability. Sure this may not be the key point they were shooting for, but as a reviewer, throwing some surprises in could have sailed this movie even further.
A Few Throw Away Characters: Another small detail, but Instant Family snuck in a few characters that brought some interesting avenues to explore. They were complete to some extent, but a few of these characters could have been left out, erased from sight due to the little contribution they provided.
The Kid InEquilibrium: The main kid who got the attention was the teenager Lizzy. I’ll recognize and appreciate the context of teenage angst, but why did the other kids, whose flaws were magnified at the early part of the movie. These components seemed to be swept under the rug, with little portrayal of dealing with these problems, often resorting to a comedic device to justify their inclusion. Thus, the a restructuring of their involvement could have been the key to furthering the movie.
Over The Limit sometimes: The worst thing for me in this film, are the few times the comedy became more insulting than funny for me. In this time of political correct statements, there are some dialogue moments and banter that sort of step on the appropriate way to phrase things. These jokes often feel more like insults and as such, not appreciating these moments that went far. Again, nothing like an R rated movie, but still something that took away from the film for me.
I agree with the recent trailers, Instant Family is indeed the big surprise of this week. It’s sweet, with a passionate charm that and relevant plot to grab attentions and hold them in their place. These balances of so many plot points is what helped achieve this quality and certainly is worth studying/noting for your future film needs. I’ll admit they crossed the line a bit, and didn’t quite maximize the potential they held. Still, with all the fun I had and the ability to show empathy to fictional characters I think is enough persuasion to call you into the hallowed halls of the theater.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0