Movie Reviews

Instant Family (2018)

instant-family-movie-review-poster-2018Director: Sean Anders

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 118 Minutes

Main Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner, Gustavo Quiroz, Julianna Gamiz, Octavia Spencer, Tig Notaro, Margo Martindale, Julie Hagerty

Plot: Pete and Ellie have a fantastic life and relationship. They’ve spent many of their early years building up their house-renovating business and are very successful at it. However, they’ve reached a point where they want a family, but worry that they’re too old, which leads them to look at becoming foster parents.

My Thoughts: I don’t know what brought me to the cinema the other night to see Instant Family, I got an offer of an early preview at my local cinema but I’d seen the trailer already and wasn’t impressed at all. I guess it was fate in the end because I ended up really enjoying it! The trailer made it look like an unfunny comedy but it’s got a heck of a lot of heart, and it’s funny in that Dramedy way.

The movie brings to light the problems around foster kids, especially the teenagers who just get stuck in the system because parents mainly look for a younger child to foster. Pete and Ellie find a connection with teen Lizzy, not knowing that she was a package deal with her younger siblings Juan and Lita. Chaos ensues from their first night together which is where a lot of the laughs come from, but things take a more serious turn when the kid’s birth Mother returns to the scene.

One of the highlights of Instant Family is the cast. I always enjoy Rose Byrne, Mark Wahlberg is hit and miss but he’s good here. The kids are wonderful and not irritating in the slightest. Then you have some great side characters played by Octavia Spencer and Margo Martindale to name just two. There really is a lot to love here.

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Is the plot predictable in every sense? Yes. Does the movie still skim over the dark side of the fostering system? Absolutely. But it’s funny, it’s sweet, it made me laugh and cry in equal measure and all in all, it was far better than it had any right to be.

Best Bit: I can think of a few, but what made me laugh loudest was Juan being a clutz at the grocery store and then shouting ‘No, please don’t hit me!’ over and over again. The reactions of passers-by were brilliant.

Worst Bit: The night before the court case. Curse my stupid Mum emotions. The stupid movie was making me ugly-cry, the heating was broken in my screen and my tears were falling down my top and making me even colder.

Fun Trivia: The film was inspired by writer/director Sean Anders’ experience adopting through Seneca Family of Agencies’ Kinship Center.

My Rating: 3 and a half out of 5 hairbrushes, which you’ll find in the toilet if you need them…

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Movie Reviews

Review: Table 19 (2017)

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Can we at least agree this is one of the most beautiful movie posters ever?

Last year was all about weddings for me. I had my own, and then I was a bridesmaid for 2 of my bridesmaids! 4 weddings in one year where you’re organising 1 yourself and you’re a big part of another 2 is exhausting, and now I have no weddings to go to this year. It’s kind of a relief, and kind of sad too, so I’ve been really looking forward to watching Table 19 and just sitting back, to enjoy the festivities.

Table 1 obviously hosts the Bride, Groom and parents, and the level of importance carries on right down the line to the very last table, in this case, 19. This is the table of ‘people who should have known to RSVP no’. We have the Best Man’s ex-girlfriend (Anna Kendrick), the Bride’s childhood nanny (June Squibb), someone’s odd cousin (Stephen Merchant), the son of a friend who’s mother is trying to get him laid (Tony Revolori) and a married couple from work who aren’t important enough for the work table (Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson).

If you’ve heard of this movie, you might have heard about the luke-warm reviews it’s been getting. I tried not to read too much in case it clouded my judgement but let me tell you, I actually kind of loved it. I’m biased because I have a huge lady boner for Anna Kendrick, but there’s so much more to this story than meets the eye. It looks like a simple enough plot, the table of losers realise they’re losers and find a way to have fun despite the fact – right?

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Well yes, but for a movie with such a small run time we really get inside each of these characters lives. There’s a huge plot line completely hidden in the trailer that I juuust worked out before the reveal, which adds a huge dramatic element to the whole thing. I’ll save the surprise for you to see for yourself.

It’s funny, in quite a dark way. Whereas a lot of movies struggle to find a balance between comedy and drama, I think Table 19 nailed it. Something will happen that will have you laughing out loud, and it’ll be followed so quickly by something serious that it completely throws you off balance. In fact, I was still laughing at parts despite the darkness. It’s overwhelming, and perhaps that contributes to the negative reviews, but I thought it fit the mood perfectly. That sounds contradicting I know, but in some movies you’ll have one hilarious scene, and 20 minutes later a serious, pull on your heart strings kind of scene, and it’s confusing. Table 19 fuses the two together.

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This joke about the jacket never got old. I’m laughing just thinking about it!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a perfect movie. It feels quite long despite its run time, there are a few loose ends here and there, and I feel like everyone¬†got some closure with their issues apart from Stephen Merchant’s character. It’s quite over-dramatic and cheesy in places, but the whole movie is like that, so although those scenes don’t feel out of place in the grand scheme of things, if that kind of drama level is a turn off for you then you’re going to hate the whole thing.

Oh and one more thing – with my wedding organising hat still on – who was in charge of the running of the day here?! Sitting everyone down for their meal, having a band play, the married couple’s first dance, then sitting again? WHERE IS THE FOOD YOU GUYS.

All in all, I’d recommend that you ignore a lot of reviews (heck, even this one if you like) and see it for yourself. Who knows, you might even enjoy it! Table 19 gets 4 out of 5 wedding cakes from me, and I realise this is the second time this week I’ve rated movies out of cake, but I’m pregnant and I just really like cake, okay?

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