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Instant Family and 5 films where Mark Wahlberg is 'The Daddy'


A-lister Mark Wahlberg may be famous for taking on physically intense roles that would break mere mortals – just think of the likes of Transformers and Lone Survivor.

But with his role in this week's comedy-drama Instant Family, he puts leg day aside for something more warm-hearted and affectionate. He stars alongside X-Men's Rose Byrne as one half of a happily married couple who get more than they bargained for when they adopt three children of differing ages.

This critically acclaimed movie reunites Wahlberg with Daddy's Home director Sean Anders, and has been praised for its deft mixture of laughs and astute observations about modern parenting.

Rest assured, however, that throughout his 20-plus year acting career, Mark Wahlberg has had plenty of experience at being 'The Daddy' – although it wasn't necessarily anything to do with school runs or packing lunch boxes... Here are five roles where he bossed it.

1. Boogie Nights (1997)

Many actors saw their stock elevated by appearing in writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's magnificent Boogie Nights. This sweeping ensemble drama put Mark Wahlberg firmly on the map after a few semi-successful starts in the Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle The Basketball Diaries and MTV-friendly stalker-special Fear.

As Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler, Wahlberg excels as a naïve young man being inducted into the porn 'family' of adult filmmaker Jack Horner (the late Burt Reynolds who was Oscar-nominated). Wahlberg is a joy to watching throughout, from throwing karate kicks like Nicolas Cage on a talk show, to channelling Marlon Brando's ultimate pep talk for the film's final scene.

2. The Departed (2006)

Who would have thought that former teen pop idol 'Marky Mark' would one day hold his own against Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson in a Martin Scorsese thriller, let alone steal scenes out from underneath them?

Wahlberg's expletive-spitting Staff Sergeant Dignam must be in the top five all-time greatest job interviewers and motivational speakers, making certain that he's always the most 'alpha male' in the room. That he is the *spoiler alert* last man standing in Scorsese's labyrinthine Boston mobster crime epic is testament to Dignam's brand of no-nonsense self-preservation.

Wahlberg drew on his own Boston background for the role, garnering an Oscar nomination (his first) for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

3. The Other Guys (2010)

Portraying a character not a million miles away from The Departed's Sergeant Dignam, Wahlberg unashamedly went for big laughs in 2010 buddy cop hit The Other Guys. His first lead comedy role placed him as the masculine foil opposite Will Ferrell's hapless schlub, allowing him to silence the doubters with his brilliant comic timing.

Whether throwing around half-baked alpha-lion metaphors or performing slow-motion, John Woo pistol dives, Wahlberg proved to everyone that he could do funny.

4. The Fighter (2011)

The Fighter is the true story of a boxing up-and-comer, who struggles to escape the shadow of his tragic elder half-brother. It garnered plenty of attention for another remarkable physical transformation on the part of Christian Bale (this time as a recovering cocaine addict), but it is Wahlberg's Micky Ward who drives David O' Russell's underdog story.

Here his performance is pained but pure, as he attempts to undo the exploitation he's suffered in his career and fight his way towards the championship. Wahlberg was Oscar-nominated and Christian Bale won, but ultimately The Fighter was knocked out in the Best Picture round by Colin Firth drama The King's Speech.

5. Ted (2012)

Having proven his flair for comedy with The Other Guys, Wahlberg really let loose with Seth Macfarlane's directorial debut Ted. It's the funny, and altogether child-unfriendly, fantasy about a little boy whose teddy bear grows up alongside him, bad habits and all.

Scoring what would become the second highest-grossing movie of his career (second only to 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction), Ted saw Wahlberg deadpanning and doing all the things you should never dream of doing with your teddy. But most impressively of all, he got to fly with Sam Jones aka Flash Gordon himself. Who's The Daddy?

If after reading these you can't wait to watch Mark Wahlberg as an actual daddy, then click here to book your tickets for Instant Family. The movie is out on 14th February, so once you've seen it, be sure to tweet us your thoughts at @Cineworld

Robb Sheppard is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.