When Parenthood Is Its Own Superpower

No Escape parentsCould you throw your child off of a roof?

Now, some parents might consider that after surviving the mother of all tantrums … but never seriously. In “No Escape,” proud papa Owen Wilson must throw not one but two daughters off of a roof to ensure their safety.

The new film performed modestly over the weekend, snagging just north of $8 million. It’s the kind of the story that should have parents riveted despite its flaws. It’s a classic case of, “add a star if you’re a parent and you hope you’d be a hero if your children were threatened.”

Owen Wilson and Lake Bell play Americans who travel to an unnamed Asian country along with their two adorable daughters. It’s not a perfect situation. Papa took a new job that required leaving their home in Texas, but they’re trying to make the best of it. Their timing, however, is lousy.

The country’s Prime Minister is killed shortly before they arrive, and a violent rebellion sweeps around the hotel where the family is staying. Suddenly, Wilson and Bell must summon courage they never knew they had to keep them and their daughters safe.

Fatherhood Changes Everything

It’s been interesting to see how becoming a father has changed my movie-viewing habits. I now watch more movies on my tablet than my big-screen TV. Insanity!

More importantly, my reaction to family-centered stories has taken a dramatic turn. I get verklempt during both father-child reunions or simple expressions of love. When a young Superman in “Man of “Steel” asks his dad, “Can’t I keep pretending I’m your son?” after learning his true identity, Papa Kent (Kevin Costner) says with a crack in his voice, “you are my son.”

Cue my throat lump.

That couldn’t prepare me for “No Escape.” It’s a 90-plus minute advertisement for the power of parenthood. These characters aren’t superheroes. They’re just a mom and dad trying to save their kids. Sure, there’s some Hollywood razzle dazzle involved. It’s still a stomach-clenching experience.

That might not be for everyone. Some parents would prefer not to see a mom or dad watch her daughters dodge gunfire. Understood. But for fathers exhausted by parenthood and eager to see something perilous and positive all at once, “No Escape” is the movie to beat at the cineplex.

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