Monday, December 04, 2006

The Christmas club

One of my favorite recurring cinematic themes is claustrophobia. Not in the buried alive sense, mind you. I just tend to like movies that restrict themselves to the physical confines of a single building or town -- The Breakfast Club, Die Hard, and The Truman Show come to mind. With such strict limits on space (and, in the case of the first two, time), the filmmakers are forced to focus on character exploration and development. Like I said, claustrophobia.

Unaccompanied Minors looks like it was made in the Home Alone mode, but it's basically The Breakfast Club at an airport. Here, the detention is a snowed-in airport on Christmas Eve, and the title characters have to share holiday spirit rather than marijuana. But it's similar enough: at one point, astute observers discover that the Molly Ringwald character is really the Ally Sheedy character, which we all know is an upgrade.

The movie works for kids because it's mostly clean, madcap fun: Tyler James Williams of Everybody Hates Chris is the standout, doing a stellar version of the Snoopy dance. But it works for adults because of its pedigree: director Paul Feig is one of those critically acclaimed people with Arrested Development and Freaks and Geeks on his resume, and the supporting cast is filled with at least 12 talented comedy show veterans (and also Wilmer Valderrama). Watch for The Daily Show's Rob Corddry as a biodiesel-obsessed father in a surprisingly well-developed subplot, and the trio of Mark McKinney, Bruce McCulloch, and Kevin McDonald as the credited "Guards in the Hall."

Final note: I was unable to attend an advanced screening of Blood Diamond because they ran out of tickets. I mention this because I was planning to call that review "Accompanied Miner." Oh well.


Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Love "guards in the hall." Hahahaha.

Quinn said...

Damn you, APL! Beat me again. Don't you have a baby to feed or something?