Instant Family Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Married couple Ellie (Rose Byrne) and Pete (Mark Wahlberg) Wagners are in a profitable business: they buy old houses, renovate them and resell them. They did not have children: the Wagners worked hard and somehow did not think about children, and Ellie believed that they were not yet ready for this.

At one point, when Ellie was trying to sell her five-bedroom house to her sister Kim (Allyn Rachel), insisting that when her sister had kids, those five bedrooms would be useful to her and her husband, Kim began to tease Ellie about that she and Pete still don’t have children.

After that, Ellie and Pete started a conversation on this topic and came to the conclusion that they don’t really want to give birth to a child and after that they have to mess around with a baby for three or four years with all the consequences, so they’d better take a foster child of five years old into the family and raise him .

Becoming foster parents in the States is a serious matter. In addition to having a special inspector examine your abilities and living conditions, Ellie and Pete must also complete special eight-week courses for those who want to adopt a foster child. After that, they must pass certification, and only after it they will be allowed to communicate with children who are waiting for adoption.

When it’s time to meet the kids, Ellie and Pete unexpectedly pay attention to a lively fifteen-year-old girl named Lizzie (Isabela Moner), who they really like. They decide to take Lizzie into their family, but Lizzie also has a younger brother and sister, whom she categorically refuses to part with. As a result, three children appear at once in the house of the Wagner spouses – with all the attendant problems.


The United Statesn-language title of this movie, Quickie Family, sets the mood for a dashing comedy about adoption. Yes, and director Sean Anders had previously directed the comedy “Papa Dosvidos” (a comedy with Adam Sandler is usually a diagnosis in itself), a completely sucky sequel “Horrible Bosses 2” and a comedy with the continuation of “Hello, Dad, New year!” with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, which has a low rating but a great box office.

I do these dosvidos and hello, ass dad, I didn’t watch the new year, it doesn’t make fun of me. But I decided to watch this film: it has a fairly high rating on IMDB, and besides, it is a tragicomedy, and Sean Anders used his own experience with adoption in the script.

The original name Instant Family can actually be translated as “Quick Family”, but Instant is actually a reference to instant food (instant cereals, instant coffee – instant cereals, instant coffee). Here, apparently, they mean the fact that Ellie and Pete did not have a single child, and then all of a sudden – as many as three!

Sean Anders made a good movie. Despite certain comedic elements and colorful characters, the issues raised here are quite serious. In a sense, the picture also looks like a guide for couples who decide to adopt a child: they are shown what a difficult process it is, and they are taught to be prepared for all sorts of inevitable problems. However, this is all served in a fun and relaxed way, so the picture looks pretty easy.

Ellie, played by Rose Byrne, is cute, funny, and at times desperate, but nevertheless she continues this difficult task of drawing closer to three adopted children at once. Does not overplay, looks quite lifelike.

I liked Mark Wahlberg too. Plays smoothly, does not stick out. His Pete at first does not really understand what a foster child is. He believes that since they have already adopted the dog Meatball, they have the necessary experience. Life has shown that one Meatball is clearly not enough.

The third most important role in the film is that very young girl Lizzy. She was played by rising star Isabella Moner. She recently played the daughter of the head of a drug cartel in the film “Killer 2: Against All” and I immediately remembered. Here she is very good – bright, charismatic and natural.

The two adoption service representatives Sharon and Karen are excellently played by Tig Notaro and Octavia Spencer. Teague (Matilda) Notaro is not only an actress, she is also a well-known stand-up comedian, and is famous for the fact that, as a rule, she always jokes with a completely deadpan face. And she’s a good comedian, I’ve seen a few of her performances.

Here, in this couple, Sharon is an unflappable white lady, similar to a strict school teacher who doesn’t seem to say anything so funny, but this is the property of Tig herself – all the same, the remarks sound funny. Karen, a plump African-American, on the other hand, is constantly joking and making fun, and Sharon pretends to be kind of angry about it.

Great characters, loved them.

The couples who took classes with Ellie and Pete are also curious, and they tried to diversify them: interracial couples, same-sex couples, a couple biased on religion and a single mother named October, who has seen enough of the movie “The Blind Side” with Sandra Bullock and now terribly wants to adopt a fat black teenager to make him a sports star. October is played by a little-known actress Eliza Schlesinger (but she is also a famous stand-up comedian) – and God, how she looks like a young Alla Demidova here!

The good actress Margo Martindale did an excellent job as Granny Sandy. Grandmother turned out to be completely atomic, and it’s a pity that there are so few of her here.

Well, I can’t help but note the strange cameo of my favorite actress Joan Cusack – she actually appears here in the very finale for literally two minutes – but it’s always nice to see her.

In general, I liked it. Yes, more or less predictable, and I definitely won’t rewatch this film, but I didn’t regret watching it at all. The humor of the film is soft, you will not accept typical modern American comedies, life situations, some moments are quite touching and at the same time not fake. Apparently, it was influenced by the fact that the screenwriter and director Sean Anders brought his personal experience into the picture – it all looks pretty sincere. And that it all ended to everyone’s pleasure and the ending was plentifully powdered with powdered sugar – well, this is such a genre, I did not expect any other ending.


Quick Family / Instant Family movie meaning

Director: Sean Anders Cast: Joan Cusack, Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Octavia Spencer, Isabela Moner, Gustavo Quiroz Jr., Julianna Gamis, Tig Notaro, Tom Segura, Allyn Rachel, Britt Rentschler

Budget: $48 million, Global gross: $120 million
Tragicomedy, USA, 2018, 118 min.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top