Instant Family Movie Review

There’s an air of authenticity to Instant Family as its director Sean Anders and his wife are foster parents in the real world. Is it also a big Hollywood comedy with famous movie stars that works overtime to tug those heartstrings? It is, but the mission is mostly accomplished by credits roll.

Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie Wagner (Rose Byrne) spend their days flipping houses and enjoying their child free upper middle class existence. A trip down the Internet wormhole gets Ellie intrigued in adopting a toddler. Pete gets on board in short order and we witness the steps needed to do so. This include a weeks long course led by two social workers played by Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro. Both are rock solid casting choices. An interesting picture could certainly be made about the saints of that profession.

Pete and Ellie get more than they bargained for when teenage girl Lizzy (Isabela Moner) catches their attention. She has two younger siblings in tow and soon it’s a quintet filling a freshly refurbished abode. And there’s plenty of drama (with much humor mixed in) that cause the Wagners to question their new life direction. This isn’t simply a new project.

This is far from a hard-hitting expose on the foster care system. Yet the screenplay from Anders and John Morris doesn’t shy away from the issues that fill it, including addiction, abandonment, and self-worth. It walks a fine line between being effective or risking becoming too mushy for its own good. By the third act, the sentimentality is still strong with this one. However, I’d be deceptive if I said it hadn’t won me over. Much of that has to do with Moner’s touching performance as the untrusting youth and fierce protector of her siblings.

Anders knows this subject and even while there’s a polished Tinseltown shine covering it, his heart comes through. I left Family appreciative of the time spent with them.

*** (out of four)

Instant Family Box Office Prediction

Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne are a couple who bring in a trio of foster kids in next weekend’s comedy Instant Family. The pic reunites Wahlberg with director Sean Anders, who made both of the successful Daddy’s Home features. Costars include Isabela Moner, Octavia Spencer, and Tig Notaro.

Family was originally scheduled to hit screens in February 2019 before Paramount pushed up the date. It will try to bring in family audiences on a weekend where Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens directly against it and The Grinch will be in its sophomore frame. That could certainly limit the potential for a robust debut, but the studio will hope that word of mouth carries it to a leggy run over the holidays.

I’ll predict a high teens teens premiere is what we’ll see as the currently unknown buzz will determine the rest of its fate.

Instant Family opening weekend prediction: $19.4 million

For my Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/06/fantastic-beasts-the-crimes-of-grindelwald-box-office-prediction/

For my Widows prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/07/widows-box-office-prediction/

Dog Days Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (08/01/18): I am revising my estimate due to the film’s release on Wednesday next week, not Friday from $6.4 million down to $5.1 million.

An ensemble of familiar actors and an ensemble of canines come together for the family dramedy Dog Days, which hits theaters next weekend. The film is directed by Ken Marino, who last made the successful comedy How to Be a Latin Lover. Cast members include Eva Longoria, Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Lauren Lapkus, Thomas Lennon, Adam Pally, Rob Corddry, Tig Notaro, and Finn Wolfhard.

Movies dealing with man’s best friend can certainly post pleasing results, like Marley and Me and A Dog’s Purpose. Yet I don’t see Dog Days achieving their grosses. Its upstart studio LD Entertainment doesn’t exactly have a strong track record producing hits. A better comp here could be this May’s Show Dogs, which debuted to just $6 million.

I’ll say this manages to just outdo that number.

Dog Days opening weekend prediction: $5.1 million (Friday to Sunday), $7.6 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my The Meg prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/07/31/the-meg-box-office-prediction/

For my Slender Man prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/07/31/slender-man-box-office-prediction/

For my BlacKkKlansman prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/03/blackkklansman-box-office-prediction/