Cleaning Out The DVR: Escaping Dad (dir by Ross Kohn)


(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 193 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on January 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Escaping Dad off of the Lifetime Movie Network on December 16th!)

One of the good things about Escaping Dad is that the film’s premise is right there in the title.  Not only does it let you know exactly what type of movie you’re about to watch but it’s also helpful if you’re like me and you only have a ten minute attention span.

“What movie is this again?”

Escaping Dad.”

“Oh yeah.  What’s it about again?”

“Escaping Dad.”

See, how that works?

Anyway, in this case, the Dad in question is Darren (Jason Wiles).  Darren is abusive, manipulative, and unfaithful.  He’s just the type of Dad that anyone should want to escape from.  However, Darren is also the district attorney.  That means that, if you try to escape from him, he can bring the entire police force down on you.  He can issue an Amber Alert and he can control the media coverage of the escape.  In the world of Lifetime, district attorneys are all-powerful.  You don’t want to mess with them.

However, Darren’s wife, Erin (Sunny Mabrey), decides to flee Darren and she takes her teenage daughter (Grace Van Dien) and her diabetic son (Andy Walken) with her.  (Her son has a habit of going into shock whenever the film needs an additional moment of drama.)  Erin has gone out of her way to keep Darren from tracking them down but her daughter has a boyfriend and, as soon as you see her texting him from the cheap motel where they’re staying for the night, you just know that Darren is going to be able to track them down.

Fortunately, just when things are starting to look hopeless, Erin meets a kind-hearted trucker named Wes (Trevor Donavon) and Wes not only helps them out but he also saves the entire movie.  Or actually, I should say that Donavon saves the movie by giving such a good performance as the tough but good-hearted Wes.  He and Sunny Mabrey have a lot of chemistry and it’s entertaining to watch them play opposite each other.  The film goes out of its way to show that Wes is everything that Darren is not.  “This is a real man!” the film seems to be shouting and Donavon gives a performance that proves that point.

Actually, I liked Escaping Dad even before Trevor Donavon showed up.  Yes, it’s yet another Lifetime film about an abused woman trying to escape her psycho husband.  But it’s well-made and well-acted, as well.  Jason Wiles is totally hissable as Darren and the scenes between Erin and her children felt totally authentic and believable.  The film makes good use of the scenes of Erin driving down one endless highway after another, leaving us with no doubt that she’s not only on a journey of escape but she’s also on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

All in all, I liked Escaping Dad.  Keep an eye out for it.

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