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Instant Family Blu-ray Review

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“Instant Family” is a charming family film.

“Instant Family” (which is based on director and co-writer Sean Anders’ own life) revolves a married couple named Pete and Ellie. The two make a living flipping houses, but they start to ponder the idea of becoming foster parents. After going through the process, they wind up adopting Lizzy and her two younger siblings Juan and Lita whose mother is in jail. The transition of turning into a family proves to be a struggle for everyone, but will they bond over time?

“Instant Family” was initially released with little fanfare, but the movie was well received and did respectable box office numbers. It’s easy to see why the film has become so well regarded as it’s not your typical Hollywood family movie. The story penned by Anders and John Morris could have easily delved into being overly sentimental but it never is. Not only does the movie have a bit of an edge in terms of the PG-13 humor, but the movie has the right amount of heart. The feel good moments feel earned and, more importantly, heartfelt.

What really stands out about “Instant Family” is that it has something to say. This movie intelligently explores the foster care system, foster children and foster parents. It provokes conversations and addresses stigmas attached to it. For that alone the movie deserves credit.

There are a few elements that don’t quite work here. As with any comedy, some of the humor doesn’t land. There’s also a rather outlandish and seemingly out of place storyline involving Lizzy and a janitor. It just felt like it was from another movie and it also provoked some odd character actions.

The cast is phenomenal across the board. We all know Mark Wahlberg can be hit-and-miss. When he’s great he is great ala “Boogie Nights” and “The Departed.” When he’s not, you get movies like “The Happening.” In this, Wahlberg shines in a much more grounded role than usual. You buy him as the character. It should be no surprise that Rose Byrne is delightful. She’s become such a staple in movie comedies as of late. The real scene stealer here is Isabela Moner as Lizzy (soon to be seen in the upcoming “Dora The Explorer”). She’s bound to become a star. Tig Notaro and the always reliable Octavia Spencer have great chemistry together as the social workers. Margo Martindale is highly amusing as Grandma Sandy (she even gets her own shirt, you know). The most unexpected and welcome surprise is seeing Julie Hagerty and Michael O’Keefe pop up. They aren’t in nearly enough movies these days.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? A predictably sharp hi-def transfer.

Audio Track: 7.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The 7.1 track is as crisp as can be.

Extras:
* DVD copy
* Digital copy
* Paramount trailers
* 5 deleted/extended scenes with an intro by Sean Anders and John Morris.
* A promo music video for Isabela Moner’s “I’ll Stay.”
* An on set marriage proposal story.
* 3 minute gag reel.
* “Mr. And Mrs. Fix-It”- A featurette on the main characters.
* “Kid Power”- A featurette on the 3 kids.
* “I Need Some Support”- A look at the support group characters.
* “Order In The Court”- A behind-the-scenes look at the end hearing scene.
* “The Families Behind The Fair”- An extra about the adoption fair sequence.
* “Crew Inspiration”- A bonus feature about a real adopted teen who became a consultant on the film.
* “The Anders Family”- The story behind the story with Sean and Beth Anders.
* An insightful commentary by Sean Anders and John Morris.

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February 26, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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