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Mavis G.

Australia

"The game is afoot..."
- Sherlock Holmes

Amateur writer obsessed w/ both Sherlock Holmes and David Bowie simultaneously. Wacky, weird, and wanting a platform to write. Not very good, but passionate.

:)

Message to Readers

I would love to be able to get peer reviews on this piece if anyone has any time! It doesn't have to be long, or just a comment but any help would be much appreciated!! :P

Instant Family: An Instant Hit?

January 18, 2019

With gut-busting comedy, relatable moments, and Mark Wahlberg (the highest paid actor on the planet), should Instant Family be your next go-to movie? 
 
Sean Ander’s latest big-budget film aims to highlight the highs and lows of first-time parenthood. A rather unprepared middle-aged couple (played by Rose Byrne and Mark Wahlberg), decide to adopt children after looking through a tear-inducing foster care website. After finding their supposedly perfect match; a headstrong but witty teenage girl (played by up-and-coming actress Isabela Moner) they decide to try out foster care. But there is a catch: she comes with two younger siblings and a birth mother who seems to be omnipresent in their minds. 
 
Sincere but entertaining, this movie attempts to mesh the drama and comedy genre. Though the comedy does come out well in some moments, and in particular to lighten the sometimes grim tone of the film, sometimes it is ill-placed and leaves viewers cringing or just feeling plain sorry for the characters. In particular, the support group scenes, though essential to the plot, often turn out harsh and unfunny. In a certain scene, the whole group laughs condescendingly when the couple starts to experience troubles with their new kids. And though this scene is intended for light-hearted joking around, it comes off un-supporting and mean towards the first-timers. 
 
In addition, I found that the family dynamic and internal conflict portrayed was often patched up too quickly, and without meaningful development first. Disagreements and bad parts were glossed over, and it had the conventional plot staples; with the misbehaving, clumsy children, and rebellious teenager. Everyone hates their new parents, makes up, then something splits them apart again. 
 
As other reviewers have similarly noted, their biological mother, of course, was the subject of this conflict and the climax (or “Hollywood dip”). Of course, when writing a movie with a still-present birth mother, this was always going to happen.
 
However, this often-overused theme is actually used to their advantage. They let the characters tell the story and what may have been a fail, becomes a win. You could sometimes guess what a character was to say or do, but always, always you were left wanting more. 
 
Every plot point and scene had a purpose, and helped to develop each character, or get some chuckles to lighten the air. And everyone had their own arch, though admittedly Wahlberg’s and Byrne’s characters were quite stereotypically written. They both had the typical, tidy 40-something-year-olds who learn to be a good parent arch. So, it may have been beneficial to add a quirk or two to these foster parents. Nevertheless, the outstanding portrayal in this film would have to be Isabela Moner’s take on the fifteen-year-old character, Lizzie.
 
This teenager had grown up parenting her younger siblings in an unstable household. She makes the best and most emotional parts of the film even better, and her acting really is some of the best in the film. Her character makes you admire her strength but also realise that she’s still just a kid. At fifteen, she shouldn’t have to deal with all the troubles that she was having to. This only makes you root for the movie more. Her performance feels real and helps viewers to relate and understand her character properly.
 
Ultimately, this isn’t an Oscar-winning drama, or the most politically-correct movie on earth, but it is a good movie. It’s a guilty pleasure for those who want a couple of laughs and a family-friendly comedy. So yes, it did gloss over the foster system, and yes, some of the jokes were out of place, but people going to see this film aren’t expecting a documentary on foster children in America.  
 
It’s supposed to be a fun-loving, goofy story. It is supposed to be something you can sit back and laugh at. It is supposed to leave you happy and satisfied. So, I recommend this movie to anyone who is looking for any of those things. 
 
And in a world without many happily ever afters, it sure feels good to watch one.
 

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2 Comments
  • Mavis G.

    Thanks so much Quille for your feedback! Much appreciated!! :DD


    6 months ago
  • Quille

    This is really good! I hope that you win the competition with this one because you wrote it very well, fairly, and I found it an enjoyable read also :DD


    6 months ago