Bland Minors Just Fine for Unaccompanied Kids
is not a single thing wrong with “Unaccompanied Minors.” This holiday
comedy of five children trapped in an airport on Christmas Eve is
nowhere near as crass, loud, obnoxious, vulgar, violent or annoying as
a person would have expected it to be. It doesn’t condescend to its
audience and the morals it imparts are absolutely unarguable. Heck, a
moment or two are even kind of sweet, so much so they actually managed
to partially warm even my own critically cynical heart.
there is not a darn thing wrong with this film, nothing at all.
Nothing, that is, if you’re under the age of twelve and sit squarely
within the film’s pigeonholed targeted age group. For the rest of us,
“Unaccompanied Minors” is a ninety-plus minute bore filled with so many
cliché and warmed-over moments the best thing for adults to finally do
is curl over in their theater seat and take a brief catnap.
what you have here is your typical story of a group of misunderstood
and completely different strangers coming together to form bonds of
friendship they’d never expected. There’s working class Spencer (Dyllan
Chrisopher), he and his sister Katherine (Dominique Saldaña) being sent
by their mother cross-country to visit their father for Christmas. When
the airport is shutdown thanks to a blinding snowstorm, he sneaks out
of the Unaccompanied Minor Room to avoid the cascading chaos and
projectile cupcakes being unleashed in every corner of the holding area.
him into the snowy world of the airport are spoiled rich girl Grace
(Gina Mantegna), tomboy Donna (Quinn Shephard), overachiever Charlie
(Tyler James Williams) and Aquaman fanboy Timothy “Beef” Wellington
(Brett Kelly). With the facility’s Passenger Relations Manager Oliver
Porter (Lewis Black) and his assistant Zach Van Bourke (Wilmer
Valderrama) hot on their tails, this ragtag group decides to make the
most of their evening sans parents, not only managing to come together
in friendship but also unleashing the wonders of Christmas on
bedraggled airport mired in commuter misery.
pretty basic stuff, Jacob Meszaros and Mya Stark’s screenplay not going
too far beyond the “Home Alone” or “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” playbook.
If anything, the writers hold a huge debt of gratitude to John Hughes
and his whole oeuvre, “Unaccompanied Minors” nothing more than a
“Breakfast Club” variation with great big globs of “Curly Sue” and
“Uncle Buck” thrown in for good measure.
a kid-flick smorgasbord of over the top hysterics and uncontrollable
energy, and for the most part director Paul Feig (TV’s “The Office”)
handles it all fairly respectably. The movie isn’t anywhere near as
ghastly as I’d anticipated, a pleasant layer of tenderness enveloping
it all making the picture impossible to hate no matter how hard a
person tries. Better, for kids this film is an electric home run, the
packed house of youngsters I saw it with enjoying it so thoroughly
their giddiness was almost infectious.
This movie is strictly a pint-sized affair from the word “go,” and any
adult walking into the thing shouldn’t expect anything more than a
benign laugh or two and virtually nothing else. The adult actors walk
through the thing like cartoon characters, while the kids are good
enough to be bearable but nowhere near exceptional enough to invite an
older person’s interests. It’s too obvious and far too silly to ever be
taken seriously, and while a parent won’t remotely complain about the
morals being imparted to their children having to watch the thing with
them may be a trial even Hercules himself couldn’t accomplish.
that’s that. If you’re under the age of twelve this movie is for you.
If you’re any older than that you might as well just stay at home. It’s
not a recommendation and it’s not a rejection, instead it’s a review
falling somewhere ineffectually right in the middle. Granted, saying so
doesn’t make for much of a critique but then, when you’re talking about
something like “Unaccompanied Minors,” what else could you possibly
Film Rating: êê (out of 4)