Unaccompanied Minors

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Unaccompanied Minors
Unaccompanied minors poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Feig
Produced by
Written by
  • Jacob Meszaros
  • Mya Stark
Based on"In the Event of an Emergency, Put Your Sister in an Upright Position"
by Susan Burton
Music byMichael Andrews
CinematographyChristopher Baffa
Edited by
Unaccompanied Pictures, Inc.[1]
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures[1]
Release date
  • December 8, 2006 (2006-12-08)
Running time
87 minutes[1]
Budget$26 million[2]
Box office$21.9 million[2]

Unaccompanied Minors (also known as Grounded in the United Kingdom and Ireland) is a 2006 Christmas comedy film directed by Paul Feig and starring Lewis Black, Wilmer Valderrama, Tyler James Williams, Dyllan Christopher, Brett Kelly, Gia Mantegna, and Quinn Shephard. 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".[3] The film was released on December 8, 2006 by Warner Bros. Pictures, and grossed $21.9 million against a $26 million budget.


Spencer Davenport and his sister Katherine must fly from California to Pennsylvania on Christmas Eve to spend the holidays with their dad. During their layover at the Hoover International Airport in Washington DC, 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 Christmas-spirited smarty-pants Charlie Goldfinch, surly tomboy Donna Malone, arrogant rich girl Grace Conrad, and mysterious Beef Wellington.

Charlie, Spencer, Beef, Grace, and Donna sneak out, and proceed to enjoy themselves around the airport. When they are caught by the airport security guards 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 to help him get a present for his sister in return for a plan to escape.

With Spencer's plan, the minors give Zach Van Bourke, the friendly clerk watching them, the slip, but Mr. Porter grows desperate to get the kids back, and sends all the airport guards to find them. After Donna and Grace get into a fight, Spencer decides that they're going to have to put their differences aside and work together, and Beef leaves to go and get a Christmas tree. Along the way, he reflects on how his step-father, Ernie, hoped to make him stronger by saying men are made, not born. Meanwhile, Spencer and Katherine's father tries to drive to the airport in his biodiesel fueled car, but it eventually breaks down at a gas station. However, the owner lets him borrow a Hummer.

The minors head to a thinly secured exit in the back of the airport, letting a dog loose to distract the guards. While they hide from Mr. Porter in the baggage claim, Charlie, who is hiding in a suitcase, gets placed on a conveyor transport; Donna goes after him, putting herself on a wild ride. Spencer and Grace follow them to the unclaimed baggage warehouse, where they find many wonderful presents, including a set of walkie-talkies, and a doll for Katherine.

However, they are seen dancing to Lee Morgan's performance of The Sidewinder on security cameras, and Mr. Porter and the guards chase the minors through the warehouse. Using a canoe, the minors take Zach captive and 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. While running around the lodge, Grace has to remove her contact lenses and put on glasses, which made her look like a dork in the past (but not to Spencer). 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, and Beef returns with a huge Christmas tree that he traded his prized Aquaman action figure for. With Zach's help, the minors decorate the airport, and take items from the unclaimed baggage warehouse to use as presents for the rest of the stranded passengers. Mr. Porter finds Spencer to admit defeat and reveals that he's unhappy because he never really gets to spend time with his family during Christmas. Spencer 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 reunites with Katherine, their father arrives to pick them up, Beef tells a girl about his trek to find a Christmas tree, Charlie and Donna exchange phone numbers and share a kiss, and Grace accepts Spencer's invitation to spend Christmas with him and his family.



Shooting took place in Salt Lake City, Utah and also Scotland .[4]


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.[citation needed]


Unaccompanied Minors grossed $16.7 million in the US against its $26 million budget. Its worldwide box office gross was $22 million.[2] It has an approval rating of 29% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 89 reviews; the average rating is 4.43/10. The general consensus is: "Unaccompanied Minors, while featuring credible performances by its mostly young cast, is simply a rehash of other, funnier movies."[5] Metacritic rated it 43 out of 100 based on 22 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Unaccompanied Minors". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Archived from the original on 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2017-05-27.
  2. ^ a b c "Unaccompanied Minors". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 2017-02-16. Retrieved 2017-05-27.
  3. ^ Episode #175: "Babysitting" Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, This American Life.
  4. ^ Longwell, Todd (2007-12-14). "Made in America: Utah". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-05-27.
  5. ^ "Unaccompanied Minors (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2016-12-12. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  6. ^ "Unaccompanied Minors". Metacritic. Retrieved 2017-05-27.

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