The Breakfast Club array of lonesome troublemakers role-call in the form of Spencer (a mini Andy Samberg) and Katie Davenport (who isn’t cute enough for us to care about her Santa woes), the wise-and-annoying-beyond-his-years Charlie, Beef (whose big joke is a rip of one of Chris Farley’s funnier gags), Grace (the snob and daughter of Joe Mantegna), and Donna (who I didn’t realize was a girl until 31 minutes in).
The group meets in the “Unaccompanied Minors Room”, which Spencer (Christopher) likens to Lord of the Flies-, a reference that is both overly clever for a 15-year-old and inaccurate because, unfortunately, there are fewer deaths in Unaccompanied Minors. The characters do, however, share a common bond: divorce, which may make some parents shift in their seats. Wisely, director Paul Feig (The Office, Arrested Development) handles the topic with maturity and uses it as an adhesive for the kids, who play off each other well.
When our tween travelers pull a Papillon, they’re chased by supporting actors who we can only assume are also after a fat paycheck. The herd is headed by the movie’s Ebenezer Scrooge (Lewis Black) who, if he isn’t griping over bottled water, soy milk, and WMDs, can’t quite deliver a genuine laugh. Rounding out the miserable background noise are The Daily Show alumni, a handful of the cast from The Office, and a trio from Kids in the Hall, who are credited as Guards in the Hall.
As much fun as this sounds (to kids, at least), it’s an experience closer to having your Omaha-bound luggage shipped to Tasmania. The least the filmmakers could have done was make the ride a bit more amusing and less roundabout than the baggage carousel. Unaccompanied Minors is a movie that gets its holly-jollies from crotch-shots and bumbling security guards—but not without taking jabs at airport customs and gas-guzzling Hummers, both of which will be a mile-high above your childrens’ heads.
Unaccompanied Minors is a rare breed; a PG-rated holiday movie that doesn’t work for the whole family. The kids may be mildly amused from time to time, but the parents may be more ticked than anything for the movie’s portrayal of the sunny side of divorce.
Charlie’s Dance Reel (3:14): Gather ‘round and watch the kid from Everybody Hates Chris dance his boots off!
Additional Scenes (5:51): These seven scenes don’t add a whole heck of a lot to the story, but, uh, eh, the kiddies might enjoy these?
Guard in the Hall (20:32) is a lengthy look at the Kids in the Hall fellas goofing around on the job. An amusing bit maybe for the parents, but the younger ones will care less.