A Genuine Mark Wahlberg Comedy Is Climbing Streaming Charts

Mark Wahlberg's Instant Family is a surprise entry on the top Paramount+ movies for the week.

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

mark wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg is a bonafide movie star as the leading man in action films and raunchy comedies, his family has a reality show, and whenever he shows up at a Red Sox game, his face is shown on the jumbotron. One of his often-overlooked films is a heartfelt family comedy, Instant Family, which is currently one of Paramount+’s top streaming films, according to FlixPatrol. The adoption comedy is very different from say, Ted, or Pain & Gain, giving the star a chance to flex a different set of acting muscles.

In Instant Family, Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne play Pete and Ellie, a married couple that enrolls in foster care. After an initial meeting with 15-year-old Lizzie, played by Isabela Merced, and her two younger siblings, Juan (Gustavo Escobar) and Lita (Julianna Gamiz), the married couple end up reconsidering adopting a teenager. Aided by a pair of social workers played by Tig Notaro and Octavia Spencer, the couple learns to navigate life going from zero children to three overnight.

As the kids are in foster care, drama ensues with the birth mother Carla (Joselin Reyes), fresh out of prison and wanting to reunite with her children. Further issues ensue, including Carla relapsing and a confrontation in family court, letting Mark Wahlberg convincingly play a concerned man in charge of children he barely knows. While it’s ultimately a feel-good family film, Instant Family presents the complicated reality of foster care, with the good and the bad.

Moviegoers mostly enjoyed the 2018 comedy, giving Mark Wahlberg a win during an otherwise disappointing year for the star. With an 81 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, critics enjoyed the film as well. All told, Instant Family made $120 million at the box office against a budget of $45 million.

Mark Wahlberg in Instant Family

That box office amount may not seem like much, but Instant Family pulled off an increasingly rare feat by starting out a disappointment with $14 million during the opening weekend, but it kept earning money. Up against Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Mark Wahlberg’s family comedy had no shot at being number one, but it hung around for weeks, racking up a few million each weekend through the holidays.

The family-friendly comedy is a rare entry in Mark Wahlberg’s filmography, which is mainly action films and crime thrillers. Shooter, Mile 22, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Transformers: The Last Knight are more in-line with what fans expect out of the best Wahlberg. Though he demonstrated comedy chops in The Other Guys and Ted, heart-warming feel-good flicks still feel a little off coming from the man that embodied Max Payne.

Mark Wahlberg has a lot of projects coming out over the next year, including Arthur the King with Simu Liu and Nathalie Emmanuel about a dog, and Our Man From Jersey, an action thriller co-starring Halle Berry. Until then, fans of Donnie Wahlberg’s younger brother can check out Instant Family on Paramount+ and enjoy one of the most unexpected hits of a long, storied Hollywood career.