Grounded (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner13/12/2006

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Likeable characters keep this watchable but the script lacks invention and, crucially, it's nowhere near as funny or as heartwarming as it thinks it is.

What's it all about?
There's a definite pre-teen Breakfast Club vibe to this family comedy, as five unaccompanied kids get stranded at an airport on Christmas Eve and have to evade the clutches of the Scrooge-like airport manager, Mr Porter (Lewis Black).

The children include resourceful Spencer (Dyllan Christopher), spoilt rich girl Grace (Gina Mantegna, daughter of Joe), tomboyish rebel Donna (Quinn Shephard), rubber-faced entertainer Charlie (Tyler James Williams from Everybody Hates Chris) and blubber-faced weird kid Beef (Brett Kelly from Bad Santa).

The Good
The cast are pretty good: Christopher makes a charming lead, and Mantegna's transition from rich bitch to likeable almost-nerd is handled surprisingly well. Shephard shows talent too, but Williams (although amusing) tries too hard and the film often feels like a showcase for his all-singing, all-dancing skills.

There's also decent support from Wilmer Valderrama (as a sympathetic airport worker) and Rob Corddry as Spencer's estranged, eco-maniac father.

The Bad
The plot is a calculated blend of The Breakfast Club and Home Alone, with The Terminal thrown in for good measure. On paper, that doesn't sound too bad, however the uninspired script forgets to include any decent jokes, instead relying on painfully unfunny, badly directed slapstick. The plot is as weak as the jokes – the main thrust of the story involves the kids saving Christmas for Spencer's little sister (Dominique Saldana) by making sure she wakes up with a present on Christmas morning. It also ladles on some unconvincing character development and an unintentionally laughable poignant moment (Grace's speech about her parents), before taking the predictable nosedive into sappy sentimentality at the end.

Worth seeing?
A mercifully short running time and a likeable cast ensure that this is never less than watchable but it could, and should, have been a lot funnier.

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Content updated: 20/10/2017 02:31

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