Unaccompanied Minors (2006)

Title: Unacommpanied Minors
Year of Release: 2006
Available On: Netflix as of 10/19.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Jingle Bells

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I stumbled across this one on Netflix and immediately sch-mashed the play button. (Full credit to Safiya Nygaard for the lingo.) It starts out pretty good because Paget Brewster is the #1 best. She hardly looks old enough to be their mother, but brings her regular talent and beauty and intelligence to the role. I’ve heard very bad things about Wilmer Valderrama, he plays Zach, but he does well in his role as the under-appreciated and over-worked airport employee. This one is star-studded. You’ll recognize the vast majority of the actors. On the less well-known end, Tyler James Williams is charming as the anxious, jazz-loving, bizarrely refined child of divorce, Charlie Goldfinch, who faints in excitement at the prospect of meeting mall Santa. Lewis Black is fine as the bad guy. It fits. ButSpencer (Dyllan Christopher) and Katherine (Dominique Saldaña) are flying to Pennsylvania to meet their father when their flight is cancelled midway due to weather. They find themselves escorted into a hellscape of a room full of other unaccompanied minors and quickly thereafter Spencer and a few other kids make their escape.

The five of them who make a break for it end up in varying amounts of trouble with airport security on their own and finally end up making a break for it on one of those little go-cart type jawns. Somehow theirs goes fast enough that adult men cannot outrun it. They eventually get caught and end up having to spend the night in a giant empty room with no one but each other and their babysitter. Spencer and his sister are separated — she ends up in a hotel with a scary flight attendant mother (Jessica Walter) and her terrifying friend/daughter/who knows, Mary Lynn. But Spencer doesn’t forget about Katherine. He’s bound and determined to get to her in time Christmas morning to make sure she still believes in Santa. Somehow he gets all the other kids on board with that plan and mayhem ensues.

Spencer: I take back everything I ever said about you.
[they hug]
Dad: …wait. What have you said about me?

I was mostly amused throughout this movie. There were definite touching and/or LOL moments. It’s not a low-budget, made-for-TV thing. Thus the costumes, sets, and acting are quite good. I’m not sure a 36-year old woman is the target audience for the dialogue, but even with respect to that, it’s not unbearable to watch. I did love the random reference to “Strunk & White.” There’s a heartwarming ending wherein everyone comes together to share in Christmas magic.

All in all, an enjoyable experience.

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