Story

A group of children find themselves snowed in at Hoover International Airport while in transit to visit family at Christmas. They are Spencer (Dyllan Christopher) and his younger sister Santa-phobic Charlie (Tyler James Williams), rich-girl Grace (Gina Mantegna), tomboy Donna (Quinn Shephard), and quiet and child-like Beef (Brett Kelly). The unexpected stopover and Christmas holiday travel reminds them all of their various family problems, including divorce, abandonment and family expectations.

As unaccompanied minors at the airport, the children are taken by Passenger Relations worker Zach (Wilmer Valderrama) to the Unaccompanied Minors (UM) Lounge. The five older children decide that the chaos of the UM Lounge is not for them and make their escape. This action earns them the wrath of the surly Passenger Relations manager, Oliver (Lewis Black). His holiday to Hawaii has also been ruined by the weather. The children are caught by security and thrown back into the UM Lounge.

Undaunted, they band together, realising that only as a team can they free themselves again. Spencer has added incentive to escape, because he has now become separated from his sister. With their combined abilities and the aid of soft-hearted Zach, they again try to escape. At the same time, Oliver and his security team are desperately trying to control them.

Themes

Separated families

Violence

  • Donna punches several people in the stomach and groin, and they are shown to be in pain.
  • The children in the UM Lounge jump on Zach and crush him. He is hurt but recovers quickly.
  • A dog bites a baggage handler on the bottom and another in the groin. While the men yell in pain, the children escape.
  • In the unclaimed baggage area, Donna finds numchucks (martial arts weapons) and Charlie finds a cane. They hurt themselves while trying them out.
  • During a chase scene down a snow-covered hill, Oliver and his security guards chase the children on various toboggan-like objects. They all lose control at different points and crash into trees, snow and carparks. They are not shown to have any serious injuries from these accidents.
  • Oliver upsets a hotel guest, who is shown raising a fist to him. Oliver yells ‘Ow!’ and reappears with a bruised face, and a slightly bloodied nose and lip.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

  • All the children are separated from their parents in the airport, although none of them appear scared by the experience.
  • The UM Lounge chaos includes yelling, fighting, folding back of eyelids, bullying and throwing objects.
  • Beef puts on a life jacket that inflates and almost strangles him.
  • The children are all chased through the airport in a stolen passenger buggy driven by Donna. The buggy crashes into bookstalls.
  • In several scenes Oliver yells, intimidates and threatens the children. They do not appear worried by his threats.
  • Charlie (trapped in a suitcase) and Donna get tossed through a large baggage carousel. They appear worried and yell out as they fly around. They take a final big fall onto a pile of luggage but are unharmed.
  • Spencer’s father tries to drive to the airport to meet his children. In the process, he nearly gets hit by a car and has a Christmas tree go through his front windscreen. His car also blows up.

From 8-13

Most children in this age group would not be disturbed by the scenes described above. Some could be concerned by Spencer’s father’s mishaps on his way to the airport.

Over 13

It is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb children over the age of 13.

Sexual references

  • When Charlie is trapped in the suitcase, he finds a bra and makes sounds of approval and nods.
  • Donna kisses Charlie, and he tells her she’s ‘hot’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

In one scene, Spencer’s auntie wakes up on Christmas Day with a bottle of spirits in her hand, looking hung over.

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Product placement

None

Coarse language

There is no coarse language in this movie, but there is some name-calling.

Ideas to discuss with your children

While many children will enjoy the slapstick and occasional toilet humour in Unaccompanied Minors, adolescents and adults may find the humour weak and the plot improbable. You might like to talk about values such as the importance of family, whatever shape it takes, teamwork and friendship, and forgiveness and generosity. You could also talk about the real-life consequences of using violence to resolve issues, and the impact of divorce.