The Reel Review

B+

When Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) decide to become foster parents to three siblings, they find themselves quickly overwhelmed as their little hellraisers force them to adjust to new lives together. This dramedy, based on writer/director Sean Anders (Daddy’s Home) and his wife’s own experiences as adoptive parents, has all the expected corny jokes and shameless schmaltz, but surprisingly, it also has enough realism about the challenges facing foster kids and adoptive parents to make this smartly-blended laughter and tears combo a real winner.

Wahlberg and Byrne are perfectly paired, with Byrne’s well-honed comic timing from hits Spy and Neighbors tempering Wahlberg’s wide-eyed enthusiasm, and with another heartfelt, standout performance from Isabela Moner (Sicario: Day of the Soldado) as the emotionally-conflicted older sister longing to reunite herself and her younger siblings with their birth mom, Octavia Spencer (The Help) and stand-up comic Tig Notaro as the hilarious social workers and Margo Martindale (August: Osage County) as lovable, scene-stealing Grandma Sandy. Bring tissues.

REEL FACTS:

• Director Sean Anders and Mark Wahlberg previously worked together on 2015’s Daddy’s Home and 2017’s Daddy’s Home Two

• Mark Wahlberg and Isabela Moner previously starred together in 2017’s Transformers: The Last Knight

• For more information on adoption and foster parenting, visit instantfamily.org or adoptuskids.org

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