Unaccompanied Minors

  • Review Date: August 7, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 89 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Stuck kids run amok; Home Alone this ain't.
  • Review Date: August 7, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 89 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Frustrated with being stuck at the airport and angry at their absent parents, kids misbehave. Stereotyped Mexican airport worker.

Violence & scariness

Lots of silly slapstick stuff. Repeated punches and hits to crotches (at least four); children misbehaving in the waiting room throw candy and other objects at one other and adults; kid's face smashed by inflatable life vest (plus other equipment-related abuses); kids stuck in and on top of suitcase are bumped and banged during a ride on the luggage conveyor; man knocked over by pop-up Santa lawn ornament; chasing and banging throughout airport hallways/tunnels/floor areas; chase down snowy hill (on sleds, canoes, etc.) leads to smashing into trees and over cliff (Porter's face is bruised and bloody; later he appears with bandages); caged dog growls menacingly; guards play musical chairs and slap each other when they lose.

Sexy stuff

Early, brief scene has a rich girl sitting in an older male model's lap to show that she's experienced and provocative -- later, she's revealed to be sweet and naive; minor flirting between kids; flight attendants discuss pilots as potential mates ("Not too late for a fifth husband!"); a boy finds a bra in a suitcase where he's trapped (and comments "Not so bad in here").

Language

Name-calling by children ("psycho," "underpants," "morons").

Consumerism

Images of or allusions to M&Ms, Al Roker on TV, Aquaman action figure, Abercrombie & Fitch, Dior, Sharper Image, Humvee, Slinky (with song lyrics).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking to drunkenness by Aunt Judy (very disheveled on the morning after).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this film is relentlessly dumb, kids -- especially those who like slapstick violence and watching other kids outsmart adults -- will probably want to see it. (That said, during one preview screening, after about 30 minutes, a 6- or 7-year-old asked his mother if they could please go home.) The stranded kids misbehave both with and without adult supervision, throwing candy and toys, destroying furniture, and piling on top of the man assigned to watch them. They order food they can't pay for, steal a motorized cart, steal items from abandoned luggage, let loose a caged dog, sneak out of the airport, and watch as adults fall, crash, and rage (a chase on sleds/rafts leads to a crash and one man's bloody and bruised face). An aunt drinks herself into unconsciousness (played as comedy), and a boy finds a bra in a suitcase where he's trapped. Some minor name-calling.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Before they're stranded in a Chicago airport by a blizzard, the core group of "minors" are introduced, establishing his or her essential character. With his parents divorced, Spencer (Dyllan Christopher) feels responsible for his little sister Katy (Dominique Saldana). Harvard-bound Charlie (Tyler James Williams) worries about proper behavior and looking smart all the time. Tomboy Donna (Quinn Shephard) hates to be touched but likes to hurt others. Wealthy Grace (Gina Mantegna) acts older than she is. And lonely Beef (Brett Kelly) clings to his Aquaman action figure. Horrified by the chaos of the airport's "unaccompanied minors room," these kids start to bond, mainly over Spencer's problem. See, he left Katy in the terrible room, so he embarks on a mission to bring her a gift so she won't lose faith in Santa. His efforts are paralleled by those of his father, Sam (Rob Corddry), who's driving dangerous conditions to get them. Their mother, Valerie (Paget Brewster), is less effective, watching TV and worrying back home, as Aunt Judy (Teri Garr, in a cameo) drink herself into a stupor while wearing ornaments and a Santa hat. As annoying as such silly displays may be, the children's more immediate concern is with their primary adversary, Scroogey airport manager Oliver Porter (Lewis Black), who calls the kids names and makes it his personal mission to make them feel bad.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Both tedious and hyperactive, UNACCOMPANIED MINORS is also a strangely careless movie. Given that it ends up preaching the value of adults and kids sharing Christmas together, it spends an awful lot of time showing the extreme incompatibility of the two species by following a group of kids who, understandably frustrated at their seeming abandonment on Christmas Eve, outsmart and abuse any and all adults they meet.

While Unaccompanied Minors might seem to fall into the kids-running-amok holiday subgenre most famously exemplified by Home Alone, Paul Fieg's movie is a disappointment in several ways. Crass and unimaginative, it's more an assembly of disconnected scenes than a movie with a plot. After they're befriended by Porter's disgruntled employee, Zach (Wilmer Valderrama), the kids eventually triumph, of course, but you're left wondering just what they've won. And, more importantly, what better use you might have found for your time.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's premise. How realistic is it that something like this could happen? If real kids did get stranded at an airport, do you think they'd act like this? Kids, how would you behave in that situation? What issues are brought up by kids traveling alone, especially during the holidays. What precautions can families take to make sure these trips go off smoothly? And for fun, what sorts of activities can you come up with during a "snow day"?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 7, 2006
DVD release date:August 7, 2007
Cast:Dyllan Christopher, Tyler James Williams, Wilmer Valderrama
Director:Paul Feig
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Holidays
Run time:89 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:or mild rude humor and language.

This review of Unaccompanied Minors was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Decent.

Cute, chase scene movie with kids. Very little violence and cute ending. Good holiday movie for the kids.
Parent of a 6 and 10 year old Written bySweet and Sour August 8, 2009
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Fun, family movie to watch together and talk about

True Christmas story with kids with the end filled with healing and joy. Slapstick entertainment perfect for my 10-yr-old and the little girl in the show gives my 6-yr-old someone to root for.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written byskyrebel August 22, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Perfect for Kids over the age of 5

It was very amusing. The fact that 5 minors are running loose during a blizzard in an airport, well 4 minors. The other has gone to get a Christmas tree. But the message is pretty clear. And the fact that there is a disillusioned airport manager and a wimpy Mexican assistant makes it more interesting. There are also romantic connections between some of the main characters
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Poll

What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide