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Unaccompanied Minors

Best Accompanied with a Lobotomy

The nadir of Christmas themed "family" comedies occurred in the latter days of 2004 with the release of the foul and unfunny Christmas with the Kranks. Paul Feig’s Unaccompanied Minors may very well lower the bar even further for family comedies. Unfunny, contrived, and less than half baked, Unaccompanied Minors is the celluloid equivalent of a catastrophic lump of coal.

It’s hard to believe that Paul Feig (who directed multiple episodes of the brilliantly hilarious "Arrested Development" television series) was unable to elicit even a handful of legitimate laughs out of Unaccompanied Minors. Ninety minutes of watching grass grow would be more amusing than this decidedly unfunny mess.

Okay…it’s not ALL Feig’s fault. Unaccompanied Minors appears to be a film that was written on a cocktail napkin. A bunch of kids (aka "unaccompanied minors") get stuck at an airport during the peak of holiday season while a blizzard grounds all flights. The kids wreak havoc while airport security chases them around the airport.

Take Home Alone (and all of the abysmal sequels), a watered down, ripped off version of The Breakfast Club, throw the aforementioned in a blender with dull blades, and you’ve got Unaccompanied Minors. You’ve got the obligatory weird kid (Brett Kelly), the juvenile delinquent (Quinn Shephard), the princess (Gina Mantegna), the brain (Tyler James Williams), and the semi-nerdy, but good kid (Dyllan Christopher) running amok for reasons that make little if no sense.

Above and beyond the lack of creativity on display in Unaccompanied Minors, the film is rife with a litany of holes that make the film simply painful to watch. The most disturbing problem with the movie is the incredible amount of time and energy airport security spends chasing the band of miscreants throughout the airport. Never the mind the possibility of terrorist acts or getting planes off the ground as soon as possible, there are five unaccompanied minors running around the airport!

As far as the acting goes, the kids are sufficiently mischievous, but ultimately pretty forgettable. The ringleader of the "UM" team is Dyllan Christopher as Spencer Davenport who masterminds a myriad of plots/schemes to outsmart the airport’s security team in escaping the confines of the airport.

Spencer isn’t offensive, but there really isn’t much too him. Likewise, the other kids pretty much adhere to the aforementioned character clichés, but there’s really no substance to any of them. Lewis Black’s talents are largely wasted in his role as the head of airport security, Oliver. His performance is over the top and not surprisingly, just not funny.

If you’re feeling a bit blue this time of year and looking for some holiday cheer, Unaccompanied Minors is one to avoid as it will likely have you running to the pharmacist for anti-depressants in short order. It’s hard to imagine this film entertaining anyone with a pulse. 2006 has had its fair share of bad films, but Unaccompanied Minors is without a doubt, the frontrunner for the worst of the year.

Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars