Matt Pais, @mattpais
RedEye movie critic
October 24, 2013
*1/2 (out of four)
Disney would never make a movie on its theme park grounds that chronicles the stress some parents feel attending the supposed happiest place on Earth. So first-time writer-director Randy Moore took it upon himself to make a guerrilla-style thriller set and filmed at Disney World—without, obviously, permission from the Mouse.
The stunt gets old and creepy quickly. Most of “Escape From Tomorrow” observes as Jim (Roy Abramsohn), a sexually frustrated father of two who looks like Tom Cruise doing Ed Helms, grows fixated on two French girls while roaming the Orlando vacation spot with his family. A sleazy jerk and lousy husband who tries to suppress anxiety over losing his job, Jim risks his kids’ safety to keep his eyes on the mystery women—one of whom can’t be older than 15.
On one level, “Escape From Tomorrow” daringly enters the highly protected brand of children’$ dream$ and questions what might happen if an adult man let his imagination run wild. That didn’t have to involve underage ogling, however, considering the film hardly counts as a critique of the way corporations can sexualize children. The film also shouldn’t have revolved around an unhappy marriage that, rather than the crowded demands of Disney World, earns the blame for this family’s bad time.
It’s true that vacations aren’t necessarily fantasy land, and getting older means it’s not always about you. (Duh). Why “Escape From Tomorrow”—which at times incorporates very noticeable green screen—tries to become something like a lost sci-fi flick from the ‘50s is beyond me. What should go without saying is that making a good movie at Disney earns 10 times more cool points than a sneak attack that isn’t worth the effort.
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