Thursday, December 22, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Movies, Day 22: Trapped at the Airport

Well, today was nice and low key.  I woke up, had a leisurely breakfast, did some chores, did some errands, and now I'm just running out the clock until I have to leave for Dad's house to get ready for the final holiday exodus to PA to visit Mommom and Uncle Mike.  It's rather nice to have nothing to do before the holidays, because it gives you time to think and contemplate the holidays.  I gotta say though, I do love that Dad is driving to PA and not me.  Holiday travel is something that just drives me batty when I have to be the one in the driver's seat.  I would much rather relinquish my command and save myself the headaches.  However, it does put me in mind of those who will be flying into forbidding climates this season and how many people can get trapped at the airport due to flight cancellations.  This brings me to today's film, which I just watched for the first time last night and which made me cringe with pain at how awful holiday flight can be.  So let's get in line and find out what happens to the Unaccompanied Minors.

It is Christmas Eve and all the flights going in and out of Hoover International Airport have been canceled due to a huge blizzard that is raging outside.  This inconveniences several people including the passengers who are waiting to depart for Christmas destinations, Oliver Porter (head of passenger relations) who is taking his first vacation in years and has to cancel, and several unaccompanied minors who are flying to meet various family members for the holidays.  At first the children are confined to a dungeon-like room for UMs (unaccompanied minors) but five of them, Donna, Spencer, Grace, Beef, and Charlie, escape for various reasons.  After Donna steals a motorized cart, Beef makes the emergency equipment room his own personal playground, Grace abuses the sky lounge, and Spencer racks up a food tab he cannot pay...all the kids are taken back to the UM room to stay as punishment while all the other (well-behaved) children are moved over to the hotel lodge down the road.  Knowing that his sister is alone and expecting Santa Claus to show up, Spencer bands the remaining UMs together and together they set off on an adventure to find the hotel and give Spencer's sister a real Christmas.  However, Oliver and Zach Van Bourke (UM guardian for the airport) are on their tails every step of the way to try to keep them confined.  It is now a battle of wills to see who will succeed.

Sigh...this is another routine holiday comedy that incorporates slapstick violence and a kids vs. adults situation into a basic "trapped in the middle of holiday travel" plot.  It's not very clever nor are the characters remarkable...in fact, the character of Oliver only exists to make these rather spoiled and rotten kids look better by comparison.  These are some really awful kids too...they are whiny, insubordinate, and have this tremendous sense of entitlement that really annoys me.  So, I guess you could say they are perfect representations of children nowadays...unlikable and rude.  True, they do eventually learn to work together and do unselfish things, but they could have taught themselves those lessons without being complete asses to authority figures who are simply doing their jobs and trying to keep something like 50-60 kids in line who are unsupervised and antsy at the thought of having to spend Christmas somewhere other than with family and friends.  Perhaps it is just the teacher in me, but I found myself siding with the adults almost everytime.  Only toward the end, when Oliver really goes too far in trying to punish these children for what they've done, did I change my mind.  For the most part, I just wanted to give all of them a good, hard smack.  Kids will get a kick out of this film though, and I suppose that is who it is made for.  However, I will not be sitting through this film again in the near future.  Its too much like working with my students.

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