Parents' Guide to

Instant Family

By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Heartwarming family dramedy has some mature moments.

Movie PG-13 2018 119 minutes
Instant Family Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 82 parent reviews

age 18+

Terrible! Teens shouldn’t watch things like this

A 12 year old should not know about, sex, masturbating and all those swear words, I would not let my kid see this until 18. Too much sexual content and swearing!

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
2 people found this helpful.
age 12+


This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (82):
Kids say (115):

This dramedy offers heartfelt moments and touching details likely drawn from writer-director Sean Anders' actual experiences of fostering three siblings with his wife. This kind of story could easily veer into schmaltz, but Instant Family admirably avoids most of that. It comes off as authentically earnest, with some light touches and effective performances. Some moments are clearly exaggerated for comic effect, but generally speaking, the film feels rooted in reality (though some might say the foster care system comes off a bit too rosy). Everyday pitfalls like getting the kids to eat and dress properly throw off the couple's once-tidy existence. Much larger, more serious issues -- such as the re-emergence of the kids' birth mother -- also come up to complicate the budding family's existence.

Playing Lizzy, young Moner is impressive; she's intelligent and emotionally available. Spencer gets the lion's share of the laughs and delivers as the unfiltered half of a comic team with Notaro. Byrne and Wahlberg are, as always, appealing presences, each finding moments to shine and reveal the depth of their emotion toward the kids. Instant Family is ultimately a life-affirming testament to the strength of the families we choose.

Movie Details

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