Unaccompanied Minors Dec 15, 2012 23:10:41 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Dec 15, 2012 23:10:41 GMT -5
The unaccompanied minors in Unaccompanied Minors.
Unaccompanied Minors blows such a grand opportunity for a kids film, so much so that sticking around to the end is a chore because you see so many ways the film could've subverted its dead end cliche material and watching it stay gridlocked to cheap, disposable schlock of the least common denominator is painful to say the least. With the wealth of talent and directorial experience on recognizably professional TV shows, I would've expected director Paul Feig to give this film proper guidance into sustainable entertainment and not that of a facile nature.
The film stars a wealth of talented youngsters that you hunger to see in better material. They are all "unaccompanied minors," planing to fly alone to travel to one place or another for Christmas, when all the flights at the airport are unexpectedly grounded because of an enormous blizzard that has consumed the entire town. We first meet Spencer and Katherine Davenport (Dyllan Christopher and Dominique Saldaña), who are scheduled to fly to Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with their father, but are instead, transferred to the ominous U.M. room when their flight is cancelled.
And what a room this "U.M. room" is. It's the most archaic sight in a kids' movie since watching Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, and Steve Zahn get man-handled by a bunch of rugrats in Daddy Day Care. The room is crawling with about fifty or sixty ankle-biters, running lawlessly throughout the large, mundane room. The dopey but somewhat likable Zach Van Bourke (Wilmer Valderrama) is conned into watching the kids, but after he is tackled, several kids manage to escape and run wild in the airport. They are prettygirl Grace (Gina Mantegna), smart but overly-goofy Charlie (Tyler James Williams), sensitive Donna (Quinn Shephard), and the quiet Beef (Brett Kelly). They are captured by the head of passenger relations Oliver Porter (Lewis Black), and sent back to the ominous room, where the activity has died down since the remaining unaccompanied minors were taken to a quiet lodge for the night, but the six kids manage to sneak out once more, with Spencer desperately trying to get a doll delivered to his sister, who is now at the lodge.
All the kids here are great and can be very effective in better material. We already know the capabilities of Brett Kelly, who was perfectly cast in Bad Santa, but here, he is made into the bumbling, mysterious fat kid, who we know even less about at the end of the film than at the beginning. Tyler James Williams of Everybody Hates Chris fame works well in his little role, but after a while, his character, much like he would in real life, becomes a pain to deal with. An nerdy, confused, quirky little albatross.
We could think of these five kids as misfits and the airport as their island. This already poses an interesting setup. But, unfortunately, writers Jacob Meszaros and Mya Stark make the film nothing more than a collection of slapstick gags, and only incorporating the ideas of divorce, loneliness, and being an outcast as little minor character backstories the film chooses to do noting with. I believe that many, many kids would be more interested in watching kids go through and handle the same problems they possibly are going through rather than lumber around setups concocted from a fourth graders daydream.
Starring: Dyllan Christopher, Dominique Saldaña, Tyler James Williams, Brett Kelly, Gina Mantegna, Quinn Shephard, Lewis Black, Wilmer Valderrama. Directed by: Paul Feig.