Review: Mark Wahlberg's Instant Family 'a whole lot of good'

Mark Wahlberg is back with a summer comedy based on the true story of a couple who embraced the foster care system and welcomed three children into their lives.

I am living in a parallel universe? Can I really voluntarily be about to give four big fat stars to a film directed by the same writer-director responsible for the unspeakably vile That's My Boy?  

Has the festive season in fact claimed my very soul and what's left of my aging brain cells rendering me incapable of making good life choices?

But here we are: turns out Instant Family is a whole lot of good.

Writer-director Sean Anders based this film on his own personal story, as along with his wife they fostered three children, later formally adopting them.

In the lead roles, Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne are Pete and Ellie - a hard-working couple who renovate and flip houses for a living. They're yet to have kids, but decide to look into fostering a child. What they end up with instead is not one, but three.

The film embraces the myriad reactions to the notion of fostering from family and friends, and does so with a surprising genuine humanity.

It takes a very special kind of person and family who open their homes and their hearts to fostering, and I just love that this film celebrates and honours them with this story.  

While of course this is a Hollywood take on it all, it still pulses with real authenticity, unafraid to deliver on the more confronting aspects of the process while at the same time seeing the humour and the heart in as much of that as it can.

Let us assume for the sake of what's left of my reputation that indeed I have not gone entirely mad; as the simple fact remains, I enjoyed the heck out of Instant Family.

I laughed, I cried and I hereby give this movie a joyous and worthy four stars.