Instant Family is the laugh out loud new movie that will warm your heart.

Thanks to our brand partner, INSTANT FAMILY

Fans of Mark Wahlberg will remember him as singer Marky Mark…and that he spent some of the 90s prominently in his underwear as a Calvin Klein model.

It’s a fact which fans, such as me, can’t help but think of every time we see Wahlberg, because really, his *ahem*… appeal hasn’t decreased over the years.

I’m afraid I can’t drool over Rose Byrne in quite the same way – but that doesn’t mean the versatile and hilarious Aussie actress, who’s carved out a name for herself in comedy in recent years (Get Him to the Greek, Bridesmaids, Bad Neighbours), doesn’t hold an equally special place in my heart.

In fact, I’m super proud to be able to call Byrne an Aussie.

So, knowing these actors were the stars of the new film Instant Family, I went into the screening with high hopes but also with that feeling you get when you desperately don’t want to be disappointed.

And, thankfully, I wasn’t.

Yes, the movie is a typical Hollywood feel-good flick about family and the power of love – but what sets it apart from other dramedies is the wholly unexpected – and entirely refreshing – comedy combo of Byrne and Wahlberg.

Their straight-faced delivery of some epic lines makes for many laugh-out-loud moments in the film.

The plot is based on the true story of writer-director Sean Anders and his wife’s real-life experiences fostering and eventually adopting three young siblings.

That’s what happens to Ellie and Pete Wagner when they decide to become foster parents to fifteen-year-old Lizzy (Isabela Moner) – and discover she comes with younger brother Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and little sister Lita, (Julianna Gamiz).

As all parents know, things escalate quickly with kids, but very few parents go from zero kids to three, including a teenager and two school-aged kids. It’s the challenges that come which such a situation that form the basis of much of the storyline.

The Wagner’s doubts about their parenting, and yes, their children, is something every parent will relate to, and which will endear Byrne and Wahlberg to them even more.

For example, in one brutally honest but hilarious scene, the couple debriefs after a very tough day, and even go so far as to say something which many parents have thought briefly, but never said aloud – can we give them back?

Of course, the Wagners are joking as they discuss the complete ‘mind-fu**ery’ that is parenting – but their frustration and confusion is real. Which makes it funny, because it’s all true.


Indeed, it’s quite a journey for them, going and growing from Double-Income-No-Kidders to parents of three. But they’re not alone.

Firstly, they join a foster parent support group run by social workers played by Academy Award winner (The Help) Octavia Spencer, and comedian Tig Notaro, who are an ‘odd-couple’ pairing with a badass approach to their jobs.

Secondly, the Wagners are supported by their families…eventually. The grandmothers play a crucial role in demonstrating what the movie feels is the real definition of an ‘instant family’ – which is, there’s very little instant about it at all.

But if that sounds a little deep for you, don’t worry.

Undoubtedly, one of the best things about the film is that the mandatory heart-warming moments are always peppered with off-beat comedy, usually delivered by Wahlberg and Byrne, but often also by others – for example, one of the final scenes where Joan Cusack makes a cameo.

The decision to deliver humanity with humour is what saves Instant Family from being a little nauseating – as any happily-ever-after movie could potentially be.

Instant Family is rated PG, making it suitable viewing for most ages, but there are some challenging topics such as family dynamics, rejection, and inappropriate behaviour from an adult towards a minor, which parents will need to explain to younger kids – so I’d recommend an age of eight or nine, upwards.

I’ll definitely be seeing it again with my 11-year-old when it’s released this week, as he loves both of these actors from films such as Annie (Byrne) and Daddy’s Home (Wahlberg).

Yes, he’ll enjoy it, but I also want him to see it because I love showing him films such as The Blind Side, which demonstrate how lucky he is, and how #grateful he should be, to have such an incredible parent as myself.

Another review called Instant Family “the cinematic equivalent of a puppy licking your face: Resistance may be futile, even if you’re left wincing at the residual goo on your cheek”, and it’s a perfect analogy – because the residual feeling of restoring your faith in humanity, and the chance for genuine chuckles given to you by utterly watchable actors for a couple of hours, will be worth the few saccharine moments.

Instant Family is rated PG, and is OUT NOW in Australian cinemas.


When Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) decide to start a family, they explore the world of adoption. When they meet a trio of siblings, including a rebellious 15-year-old girl (Isabela Moner), they find themselves unexpectedly speeding from zero to three kids overnight. Now, Pete and Ellie must hilariously try to learn the ropes of instant parenthood in the hopes of becoming a family.
INSTANT FAMILY is inspired by the real events from the life of writer/director Sean Anders and also stars Octavia Spencer, Tig Notaro and Margo Martindale.
It is OUT NOW in cinemas!

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