Making the Grades
Falling well within the typical holiday movie formula is Unaccompanied Minors, a film that may be best described as an acceptable baby-sitting alternative for weary kids while parents complete their Christmas shopping.
Most holiday movies require a desperate situation, and in this case it centers around two children, Spencer (Dyllan Christopher) and Katherine (Dominique Saldana), who are planning to spend Christmas with their father but end up stranded at an airport when a snowstorm grounds all outgoing flights.
Now enlisted in the unenviable ranks of "unaccompanied minors," the pair is escorted to a bomb shelter type room at the end of a long hallway within the air terminal full of other rowdy young vagabonds in the same predicament. In order to keep themselves occupied, the majority have resorted to food fights, poker playing and/or creating utter mayhem. Amongst the troops Spencer and Katherine eventually meet a few children they can relate to: Nerdy Charlie (Tyler James Williams), tomboy Donna (Quinn Shephard), rich girl Grace (Gina Mantegna) and fat kid Timothy (Brett Kelly).
Shocked by the immature behavior of the crowd and hoping to impress Grace, Spencer immediately hatches an escape plan. With only one security guard, Zach (Wilmer Valderrama), to watch over the throng, the half dozen kids easily make their breakaway and have run of the airport. However, as the night moves in, they will have to avoid the other guards who are under the command of Oliver (Lewis Black), the airport's security chief. Fortunately, he is even more inept than his underlings, and the chase is on... and on... and on...
Perhaps the best way to describe this film is The Terminal meets Home Alone, resulting in more than an hour of unruly kids evading adults. However, other than the resulting slapstick violence, there is little in this film that should cause parents concern. Finally, what is possibly the movie's most redeeming trait, is the love and concern Spencer shows toward his little sister.
Although I wouldn't be thrilled to put my dollars down on this film, the kids in the screening I attended were engaged and enjoying the onscreen ruckus. While I usually recommend seeing movies with your kids as often as possible, this may be one you will want to have them attend as unaccompanied minors instead.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Unaccompanied Minors.
Near the end of the film, one character explains that kids of divorced parents are more “resourceful.” Do you think this is true? What costs do children of broken marriages pay?