"Unaccompanied Minors": Every child's dream

Dec. 21, 2006, midnight | By Julia Mazerov | 15 years, 11 months ago

Christmas flick filled with holiday cheer

Twas' the night before Christmas and all through the airport, ran loose five unaccompanied minors, left alone to cavort.

Sound like a typical Christmas Eve? It certainly wasn't for a particular group of scraggly and disheveled kids, who find themselves stranded at Hoover Airport sans parents because of a blizzard in Warner Bros.' latest flick, "Unaccompanied Minors."

A "Breakfast Club" knockoff for the younger crowd, "Unaccompanied Minors" follows the awkward but determined protagonist Spencer (Dyllan Christopher), rich prep girl Grace (Gina Mantegna), tomboy Donna (Quinn Shephard), geeky know-it-all Charlie (Tyler James Williams) and timid Timothy "Beef" Wellington (Brett Kelly) as they team up despite glaring differences and continually outwit and outrun their grumpy supervisors.

Though several elements of the plot are questionable for anyone over the age of thirteen, it's a perfect film to take the little ones to. The slapstick-style comedy and overused clichés won't be entertaining to anyone else, but lucky for director Paul Feig, the film's target audience loves all that each outrageous prank has to offer.

Whether it's "borrowing" airport carts or sledding down a hill in a stolen canoe, the gang never ceases to entertain. "Everybody Hates Chris's" Tyler James Williams offers a particularly strong performance, with his Harvard-bound, brainiac attitude and pleases the audience with the most amusing solo dance routine of the year.

In addition to entertaining, the film also oozes with moral values, a feature that parents certainly won't object to. For starters, the characters in the film all come from broken and divorce-laden homes, a subject which the team bonds over and has plenty of meaningful, heartfelt conversations. (Again, pleasing for the kids, cheesy for anyone else.)

Stemming from this theme, Spencer Davenport has become the man of the house following his parents divorce, leaving him in charge of precious little sister Katherine (Dominique Saldana), whom he travels with on the trip. When the two are separated, Spencer realizes he must fulfill his sibling duties and deliver a Christmas present from Santa to his little sis. Spencer, with the help of his new-found friends, spends the night on a conquest to deliver her a doll by the time she wakes up. Talk about a lesson in brotherly love.

Next, the film is a mini Christmas tale within itself, as it depicts the transformation of "Grinch-like" airport official Oliver (Lewis Black) from a disgruntled and hateful Scrooge to a jolly fellow full of holiday spirit, thanks to the unaccompanied minors. The film is tied together nicely, with a heartfelt ending complete with holiday cheer that leaves the audience feeling warm inside.

Though it may not be the family flick of the year, or even of the week, "Unaccompanied Minors" undoubtedly serves as an outlet for exhausted parents to catch a breather while they finally get their kids to sit still for a few hours. The adults can also find humor in a few scenes, especially those surrounding the plight of tree-hugging, veggie-oil-as-gasoline using Sam Davenport (Rob Corddry) as he is forced to drive a Hummer in order to pick up his kids. So for parents in need of a little catnap while simultaneously seeking an afternoon activity for the kiddos, "Unaccompanied Minors" is the perfect choice.

"Unaccompanied Minors" runs 1 hr. 29 min. and is rated PG for mild rude humor and language.

Julia Mazerov. Julia: -is a SEENIORRRR -is obsessed with Entourage -makes to-do lists like it's her job -takes naps a lot -is a riflery pro -goes to lots of concerts -has a weakness for cute tote bags, Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream, and Kate Harter More »

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