The new heartwarming comedy called Instant Family shows a couple who find themselves stuck in a rut and who decide to look into becoming foster parents. However, because the foster care system children face challenges that their peers don’t, the subject matter in this movie is not exactly easy to laugh about. But the comedy uses humor to depict difficult subjects. This is why Rose Bryne is made for this role given that she masterly balances drama and comedy in everything she does.
During a press junket in New York City, Rose who plays Ellie said:
I think it’s from the same place. It’s from the same wellspring. Tears and laughter, it’s the same sort of instinctual very primal emotion, so I approach [comedy] the same way, like it’s a drama.
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Ellie and her husband Pete (Mark Wahlberg) flip houses for a living. They both buy properties, and Pete re-builds them while Ellie designs the interiors. As funny as jokes about addictive remodeling shows are, Instant Family doesn’t hold back to show all the struggles and challenges Ellie, Pete, and their foster children face when the duo decides to expand their family.
Byrne’s character and her husband Pete (Mark Wahlberg) flip houses for a living. They buy properties, and Pete, a contractor, re-builds them while Ellie designs the interiors. Their dynamic is exactly like that of Chip and Joanna Gaines — shiplap included — and the movie doesn’t let that comparison go unacknowledged. The show tackles stigma such as the charitable reasons why some people become foster parents, like government subsidies, and tax breaks. Regarding this, Byrne said:
It gets you in with the laughs and sort of punches you in the gut with the tears.
As hard as this was, Byrne credits the Instant Family writer and director Sean Anders for pulling off the impossible task of creating a crowd-pleasing comedy that doesn’t sugarcoat tough subjects. Anders’ own experience inspired the movie, as she adopted three children from the foster care system. Regarding the movie’s writer and director, Byrne revealed:
If it hadn’t been Sean, I would’ve been really worried, and I don’t know if I would’ve done it but because it was his story I trusted him and I thought, ‘I see how your family is everything to you, you want to tell this story to inspire people. There is a terrible stigma and he really just wants to diminish that.
The funniest and the most emotional parts of the movie take place in various trials and triumphs of the parents’ attempts to create a cohesive family unit. Because some jokes are deeply realistic, they might even make the audience feel bad for laughing. One of the children, Juan, tends to be clumsy which leads to hilarious mishaps, but then he immediately apologizes for his actions, which is most likely due to his trauma from past abuse.
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The beauty of this comedy is that it gives you a glimpse into what real foster kids and foster parents go through when trying to bring a family together. But Byrne knew what was at stake, so she pulls it off like nothing, revealing:
I didn’t want to screw it up, and tonally we figured it out on the way and I always knew tonally it would be in the edit and Sean would say that too. We would push the comedy too far and then bring it back.
While the actor credits the direction for perfecting the film’s tone, Byrne herself has a way with nailing that sad-happy brand of comedy.
Although Byrne did feel uncomfortable portraying Anders’ story, she says that she prefers to play roles that are very realistic, which means that we won’t be seeing the actress in a superhero movie anytime soon. Byrne jokingly explained:
I’ve never gravitated toward that, but I have two boys [so] it’s all I’m going to be doing for the next 25 years. I’m gonna be seeing every single f*cking superhero movie.
Byrne is not exactly excited about doing superhero movies that come out monthly, yet she is still hopeful for their future since we’re no longer seeing the same stories being told over and over again, saying:
I just feel like the old formula doesn’t really work cause that’s not what we see in the world. Like look at Crazy Rich Asians, look at Atlanta, look at these fabulous shows and films and it’s so much more interesting right?
Talking about movies that changed the ‘old formula’, Byrne said:
I would put Bridesmaids in that category.
We recall that Bridesmaid became the top R-rated female-driven comedy of the year, opening doors for other R-rated movies starring lots of funny women, like Rough Night and Girls Trip. In fact, now the Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish and Byrne are even teaming up in a movie that will come out in 2019. Regarding this, Byrne said:
That’s going to be thrilling, to work with her.
Not every movie can be easily put in one genre or the other, so Byrne’s philosophy is simple and to the point, as she said:
All you can try to do is make good stuff that’s like life.
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