Grounded: Unaccompanied Minors (2006) – movie review

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Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring: Lewis Black, Wilmer Valderrama, Tyler James Williams, Dyllan Christopher
Director: Paul Feig

How would you feel if you were a youngster flying without an adult and then you suddenly find yourself grounded at an airport, all flights suspended due to bad weather? You’d probably feel very alone, worried and increasingly miss your parent(s)? Not so for the vast majority of these unaccompanied minors (UMs) as they’re called in The States. Herded into a large room, the airport staff soon has a riot on their hands and they’re the targets!

Only five kids for various reasons want to leave this mayhem. They’re escape though sets in motion a chain of events which ultimately finds them banding together to outwit airport security and a comedic cat and mouse chase ensues with ever increasing chaos.

The five UMs who become the most wanted targets of Hoover Airport security are teenagers Spencer (Dyllan Christopher), rich kid Grace (Gina Mantegna), tomboy Donna (Quinn Shephard), precocious gadget wizard Charlie (Tyler James Williams) and shy, comic book hero aficionado Timothy (Brett Kelly).

Bulldog and leader of the pack for the opposition is grouchy Passenger Relations Manager Oliver Porter (comedian and satirist Lewis Black) who should be on a beach in Hawaii but like everybody else had his flight cancelled. Not only that he hates Christmas time because his wife left him previously at this festive time, hence Christmas decorations are banished from the airport! So the games begin…

There are some very funny stunts, cleverly executed, interspersed with some absolutely hilarious moments. It’s a heart-warming, feel good movie heavily gift wrapped for the festive season but thoroughly entertaining to watch. The talented younger cast members seem to give very natural performances in this slapstick actioner and with satirist Lewis Black at the helm, supported by Wilmer Valderrama who plays his assistant, the momentum never lets up. Despite being a little sugary at the very end, this is good Christmas fun for everyone.

4 out of 6 stars