"House Arrest" is one of those movies for children that seems far more immature than the audience.

This is a "concept" picture, one that can be summed up nicely in a paragraph: A young brother and sister worry when their parents start to talk about divorce, so they lock them in the basement, hoping Mom and Dad will work things out. When word of what they've done leaks out, their friends bring their parents over, hoping a little time in the basement will help iron out their problems as well.And if there was any wit to the screenplay, the concept might have some potential - especially with Kevin Pollak and Jamie Lee Curtis heading the cast.

As it is, "House Arrest" is about as lame as they come.

Grover (Kyle Howard) and his younger sister Stacy (Amy Sakasitz) are devastated when their parents (Curtis and Pollak) announce they are separating after 18 years of marriage. So, the kids lure their folks downstairs for a little impromptu, Hawaii-themed, wedding-anniversary party. But when it becomes apparent they aren't going to try and hash things out, the kids lock Mom and Dad in the basement.

When some kids at school find out what he's done, Grover becomes an unlikely hero. The beautiful girl who had previously ignored him and the bully who had been picking on him bring their folks over, hoping they will patch things up as well.

The adults are fed a steady diet of what Hollywood thinks kids like to eat - massive amounts of junk food in a blender - while a snoopy neighbor (Ray Walston), who is also a former cop, gets suspicious. And, as you might expect, there are the usual food fights and music-video sequences.

If this sounds contrived, that's not the half of it. And the filmmakers obviously don't realize how mean-spirited it plays - especially the characters played by Christopher McDonald, as a male-chauvinist adulterer, and Sheila McCarthy, as his put-upon, mousy spouse.

And therapists everywhere will cringe when Pollak says, "We don't need counseling - the truth is, no one ever needs counseling!"

Still, Pollak and Curtis do try to breathe some life into the proceedings (though they are really supporting players to the kids), and Jennifer Tilly has a couple of amusing moments as a single mother who thinks she's the same age as her teenage daughter.

Yes, this could be a sitcom, if a loud, obnoxious show about loud, obnoxious characters screaming at each other could last 13 weeks. Come to think of it, there have a lot of shows like that - and many have lasted more than 13 weeks.

"House Arrest" is rated PG for violence and a few vulgar remarks.