Pete and Ellie live and work together: they renovate houses, inhabit them, resell them. They are a happy couple, but they understand that it is time to become parents: instead of following the traditional way, they will choose to adopt children abandoned by their natural parents. They will end up bringing three of them home: the teenager Lizzy and her brothers, Juan and Lita.
Adapting a delicate subject, in which subjectivity plays an important role, to the rigid schemes of today’s American comedy is a risky enterprise.
To undertake it is Sean Anders, who relies on the verve of Mark Wahlberg – who for the occasion undresses the role of the unstoppable patriot and wears those of a naive macho with a good heart – and Rose Byrne, refined regular interpreter of romcom and comedies tout court. To think that we can seriously believe that we adopt children to thin the age difference between parents and children is a curious idea; in some ways no less disturbing than those who assimilate paternity to the care of a pet.
To express both concepts aloud is the same character, that of Pete, the director’s exaggeratedly naive alter ego, given the semi-autobiographical nature of the story. Where the need to “feel better” of the wealthy American parent ends up, especially if of Caucasian race (as constantly reproaches Lizzy to the couple) and where the assumption of responsibility begins for those who stop putting themselves on a pedestal and let the altruism has the upper hand? To expect to get this kind of answers, or insights on the topic, from Instant Family is a clear utopia. But it is on this kind of balance that Anders’ film is based, a story of a complicated adoption – as all adoptions are, it reminds us at every step of the script.
With a curriculum that boasts titles such as Sex Movie in 4D and Guess why I hate you, on the other hand, it was not legitimate to expect subtle and punctual psychological analyzes on the possible trauma related to adoption. Perhaps we could have hoped for the absence of Saturday Night Live gags that exacerbate unlikely behaviors (such as everything that concerns the foster parents of the foster care center, where there is no lack of gay couples, exasperated healers, etc.) for reassure the viewer.