Home Alone meets The Terminal in Grounded, an obnoxious kid-com built around a frankly nightmarish scenario - being holed up at an airport indefinitely with a bunch of misbehaving brats. Forced by bad weather to spend Christmas Eve at the fictional 'Hoover International Airport', this mini-Breakfast Club make merry hell for peevish Passenger Relations Manager Lewis Black (Accepted) and anybody else who gets in their way, in a film that's as pre-packaged and tasteless as a mid-flight meal.
"It's like Lord Of The Flies in here!" cries nerdy teen Spencer (Dyllan Christopher) when he sees the film's quarantined crew, which is as clever as Paul Feig's movie gets. Spencer's subsequent jail-break with four other junior travellers leads to somewhat less subtle hi-jinks, involving runaway golf buggies, luggage carousels and the like. This being Tinseltown though, you can count on everything being tied up neatly with a Santa-shaped bow by the time Christmas morning arrives.
"USES ETHNIC STEREOTYPES"
Rather less neat, is Feig's use of ethnic stereotypes, typified by the incompetent Latino official (Wilmer Valderrama), who says "Ay, Caramba!" whenever he's outfoxed by his charges. The chief object of scorn though is Spencer's eco-friendly dad, a tree-hugging green with a bio-diesel car, who becomes a Humvee-driving gas-guzzler by the end of the picture. God bless America!