Unaccompanied Minors Was a Failure as a Christmas Movie
Dec 26, 2007 (Updated Oct 10, 2008)
Review by Marie Dragonfire
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Plot had potential.
Cons:Not funny or entertaining. No likable characters.
The Bottom Line: Unaccompanied Minors failed in a big way on being a fun Christmas movie or even just an entertaining movie in general.
There have been new Christmas movies released every year for the last few years. Since I tend to like Christmas movies, I have seen several of them. Unaccompanied Minors didn't look appealing to me when I first saw a trailer but I decided to watch it when it turned up on one of my movie channels.
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On Christmas Eve, several children were flying alone, usually to go to spend the holiday with the parent they didn't live with. A horrible blizzard moved in and shut down all the airports in the Midwest. Oliver Porter, a man working in customer relations at the Hoover International airport, was in a really bad mood after his flight to Hawaii was canceled, ruining his first Christmas off in fifteen years. He had all the unaccompanied minors at his airport gathered up and put in one large room where they were running wild.
Five of the children, Spencer, Grace, Charlie, Donna and Timothy, managed to escape the room. When they were found and returned to the room, all the other children had been taken to a nearby hotel for the night. Porter said the five who had gotten out would be spending the night in that room since the roads were closed because of the blizzard. Spencer was determined to get out and make it to the hotel because his little sister Katherine was there and he had to make sure she got her gift from Santa.
There really wasn’t much of a plot or much point to Unaccompanied Minors. A bunch of kids were confined in one room at an airport, so of course they went wild. Five got out of the room for a while before being found and returned to the room. After that, they spent the night plotting how to get out yet again and make their way to the hotel so Spencer could get a gift to his little sister. None of the kids knew each other and in fact Grace had been extremely rude to Spencer when he tried talking to her and her friends. I didn’t think there were any surprises with what happened and I didn’t find anything to be interesting. Porter was going to extremes with how he was dealing with the kids. He had no compassion for the fact that they were stranded in an airport away from their families and he was just obsessed with punishing the kids. By a certain point, there really wasn’t any more reason for him to do that, but he still continued on that path. He got downright vindictive and cruel with how he was dealing with them.
Unaccompanied Minors was supposed to be a funny family movie. I didn’t think the movie and was funny and don’t think there is anything in it that would appeal to adults. There were a lot of silly or even downright stupid things to try to do to add humor. I thought those attempts failed. I just didn’t see the humor in Porter being so obsessed with punishing the kids and most of the what the kids did just seemed silly to me. There were jokes connected to bodily functions used too much as far as I was concerned. Children will probably enjoy the movie a lot more than I did.
I don’t think Unaccompanied Minors worked that well as a Christmas movie either. The movie mainly took place on Christmas Eve and ended on Christmas morning. Some of the characters talked about the holiday a few times without it seeming to be that big of a deal. There weren’t any decorations around the airport because of how much Porter disliked the holiday. Really the only time any decorations were shown was when Valerie, Spencer’s mom, was shown worrying about the kids. She was with her sister who went way overboard with decorations inside and outside. Even the kids didn’t seem to be too concerned about the holiday except for Spencer’s sister who kept going on about making sure Santa could find her so she would get her present. The movie did try to add in a message about the importance of families around the holiday that I didn’t think worked. Some scenes went overboard with trying to deliver the mystery and were entirely too sappy.
None of the characters in Unaccompanied Minors were developed. The kids were just running around the airport, some more wild than others, and then trying to get to the hotel. Spencer had been really annoyed by Katherine and didn’t have a problem leaving her behind in the room when he got out. Then just a short while later when he learned she was at the hotel, he was freaking out about her being there without him and he became determined to get to her. It seemed just a bit too convenient that he would change his attitude about her that fast.
Katherine just kept going on about wanting Santa to find her. She whined too much and even got annoying at times. She wasn’t around that often since she was separated from her brother. Donna seemed to be sort of wild and had issues with people touching her. Charlie was a bit of a wimp and liked singing. Grace was stuck up and not very nice to anyone. She was looking down on everyone. Timothy was made fun of because he carried around an Aqua Man action figure to play with all the time. None of the actors playing the children were anything special in their parts.
Porter was the main adult character. He hated Christmas and was grumpy because his vacation was messed up by the bad weather. He didn’t seem to like children either. Lewis Black seemed a bit out of place in this movie. Zach was an employee at the airport who was supposed to watch the kids at different times. He didn’t agree with what Porter was doing most of the time. Wilmer Valderrama was fine though he really didn’t have much to do. Spencer’s parents were shown a few times and were really flat characters. Valerie was flipping out worrying about them being at the airport. Teri Garr was wasted as Valerie’s sister who went overboard with the decorating.
Lewis Black - Oliver Porter
Paget Brewster - Valerie Davenport
Dyllan Christopher - Spencer Davenport
Rob Corddy - Sam Davenport
Teri Garr - Valerie’s Sister
Brett Kelly - Timothy
Gina Mantegna - Grace
Dominique Saldana - Katherine Davenport
Quinn Shephard - Donna
Wilmer Valderrama - Zach
Tyler James Williams - Charlie
Paul Feig - Director
I watched Unaccompanied Minors on one of the HBO stations that I get. I know the movie is available on DVD now, though I have no clue what sort of extras might be included.
Unaccompanied Minors wasn’t funny or entertaining for me. It also failed to work as a fun Christmas movie. I wasn’t expecting great things from this movie and don’t mind silly or mindless movies when they are done well. I just didn’t think this movie was done well and I really didn’t care about the characters or what was going on. People in the mood for a good Christmas movie should pick something else instead. Children will probably enjoy the movie more than adults.
Christmas Movie Reviews
Alvin and the Chipmunks ~ Bad Santa ~ Best Christmas Movies ~ A Christmas Story ~ Christmas With the Kranks ~ Deck the Halls ~ Die Hard ~ Die Hard 2: Die Harder ~ Elf ~ The Family Stone ~ Fred Claus ~ Home Alone ~ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) ~ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) ~ The Ice Harvest ~ Jingle All the Way ~ Just Friends ~ Lethal Weapon ~ The Muppet Christmas Carol ~ Muppet Family Christmas ~ National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation ~ The Nightmare Before Christmas ~ The Polar Express ~ The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause ~ Scrooged ~
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