Unaccompanied Minors

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Unaccompanied Minors
Unaccompanied minors poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Paul Feig
Produced by Lauren Shuler Donner
Michael Aguilar
Written by Jacob Meszaros
Mya Stark
Starring Lewis Black
Wilmer Valderrama
Tyler James Williams
Dyllan Christopher
Brett Kelly
Gia Mantegna
Quinn Shephard
Music by Michael Andrews
Cinematography Christopher Baffa
Edited by George Folsey, Jr.
Brad E. Wilhite
Village Roadshow Pictures
Donners' Company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
December 8, 2006
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $26 million
Box office $21,994,214

Unaccompanied Minors (called Grounded in the UK) is a 2006 Christmas comedy film directed by Paul Feig and starring Lewis Black and Wilmer Valderrama. It is based on a true story by Susan Burton first told on the public radio show This American Life under the title "In the Event of an Emergency, Put Your Sister in an Upright Position".[1]


Spencer Davenport (Dyllan Christopher) and his sister Katherine (Dominique Saldaña) must fly from California to Pennsylvania on Christmas Eve to spend the holidays with their dad, an environmentalist. Unfortunately, during their layover at the Hoover Airport in Kansas, a massive blizzard grounds all planes and cancels all flights, and the siblings are sent to the anarchic UM (unaccompanied minors) room, where they meet plucky Charlie (Tyler James Williams), tough girl Donna (Quinn Shephard), conceited Grace (Gia Mantegna), and mysterious Beef (Brett Kelly).

Spencer, Charlie, Beef, Donna and Grace and sneak out, and proceed to wreak havoc around the airport. When they are caught by the airport security and returned to the UM room, they find that the other minors, Katherine included, have been sent to a lodge down the road, and that the grouchy head of passenger relations, Oliver Porter — whose trip to Hawaii is among the canceled flights — intends for the kids to spend Christmas Eve in the UM room. Knowing that it will break Katherine's faith in Santa Claus if she does not receive a present by the next morning, Spencer asks the others, that in return for a plan to escape, they will help him get a present to his sister.

With Spencer's plan, the minors give Zach, the friendly clerk watching them, the slip, but Mr. Porter grows desperate to get the kids back, and sends the entire airport security to search for them. Meanwhile, Spencer and Katherine's father tries to drive to the airport in his biodiesel fueled car, but it's not long before it stops working. At a gas station, the owner lets him borrow a Hummer.

The minors head to a thinly secured exit in the back of the airport. While they hide from Mr. Porter in the baggage warehouse, Charlie, who is hiding in a suitcase, gets placed on a conveyor transport. The minors follow him to the unclaimed luggage warehouse, where they find many wonderful presents, including a set of walkie-talkies, and a doll for Katherine.

However, their antics in the warehouse are seen on security cameras, and Mr. Porter and the guards chase the minors through the airport. Using a canoe, the minors sled to the lodge while pursued by the guards, and manage to elude Mr. Porter long enough to find Katherine asleep in the lobby, and place the doll in her arms. With their mission completed, the minors go back to the airport with Mr. Porter quietly. They are placed under surveillance in separate rooms.

Using the walkie-talkies, the minors tamper with the security cameras and escape through air ducts. They find the Christmas decorations Mr. Porter confiscated. With Zach's help, the minors decorate the airport, and take items from the unclaimed luggage warehouse to use as presents for the rest of the stranded passengers. Mr. Porter finds Spencer to admit defeat, and the boy inspires some holiday spirit in the man with some friendly words and the gift of a snow globe. On Christmas morning, Mr. Porter dresses up as Santa Claus to hand out presents to the passengers, Spencer and Katherine's father arrives to pick up his children, and the minors promise to stay in touch.

Throughout the movie Beef sneaks out of the airport to get a Christmas tree. While travelling to find one he reminisces about a troubled past he had with his mean step-father Ernie, who wanted to toughen him up by telling him that "men are made, not born." He eventually reaches a tent that sells trees and when he wants to buy a large tree that is expensive, he trades his Aquaman action figure. He then returns to the airport with the tree and tells a child stories about his adventures with Aquaman.


with a cameo by The Kids in the Hall's Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, and Mark McKinney as Mr. Porter's men

Deleted scenes[edit]

Original opening: At a mall, Spencer meets a girl from his school named Ashley. They talk and are about to kiss, but this is revealed to be a daydream. His mom interrupts him, and tells him to take his sister to see Santa. The daydream sequence was commonly seen in TV promotions for the film, despite not making the final cut.

Snotty Beef: During the sledding sequence, there is a shot of Beef wiping his nose on his coat.

Extended dance sequence: Alternate takes of Charlie dancing.

Peach Puma: Upon arriving at the Peach Festival, Beef enters a jar of preserves in the canning competition, but is bitten by a puma when he tries to ride the teacups. This scene is often included in the television cut to round out a full two-hour time block.


Tyler James Williams performed a song for the film with the same name as the film, but was not used in the film, but in a television spot to promote the film.


Unaccompanied Minors was not an initial success at the box office, having earned only $16,655,224 domestically against its $26 million budget, not counting DVD sales. Its worldwide box office gross was $21,994,214. The film received generally negative to mixed reviews from critics, It has a "Rotten" rating of 30% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the general consensus being: "Unaccompanied Minors, while featuring credible performances by its mostly young cast, is simply a rehash of other, funnier movies" This has a 43 out of 100 on Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[2]


External links[edit]