Runaway Father (1991)

Donna Mills in Runaway Father (1991)

Dead Beat Dad

Pat Bennett (Donna Mills - Play Misty for Me) was in a loving marriage with Tommy (Jack Scalia - Honeymoon with Mom) but then came the children and Tommy didn't want kids and their relationship starts to break down. Pat also discovers he has been cheating on her with a fast food waitress when she shows up at her home and says she is carrying his baby. Eventually Tommy walks leaving Pat not only pregnant with their third child but with no money or anything having cleared out the bank account. A few years later having gone back to school and gained the qualifications she learns that Tommy is dead, having died in a plane accident except a few years after that she is approached by a woman who says she was married to him and he has walked out on her. With her daughters struggling as teenagers with no father figure Pat decides she needs to track him down and make him pay for screwing up not only her life but also that of their children.

Evidently "Runaway Father" is based on a true story and if it isn't it certainly plays out like one. And it is an interesting story of a woman who found amazing courage and strength to pick up the pieces of her life and make something of it. It is also an interesting look at the difficulties of not just tracking down her supposedly deceased ex husband but then taking him to court to make him pay. And to further that it is also an interesting look at how not only having a father but also the discovery that he is still alive affects Pat's daughters.

Jack Scalia in Runaway Father (1991)

But and there is a but because whilst "Runaway Father" is entertaining it does suffer from a first half which feels like it is full of hatred towards men. Now there is no way Tommy is a nice guy, he is a jerk and maybe he was as nasty as it is portrayed in the movie but it seems so over the top. It certainly works to make you dislike the character especially the hospital scene following the birth of the third child where he tells Pat to just pick a name from the phonebook.

That brings me to the acting and whilst Donna Mills delivers a good performance as Pat the big impact performance comes from Jack Scalia as her no good husband. As I said the nastiness seems a little over the top but the threatening nature which Scalia gives Tommy when he is boxed into a corner over his adultery is menacing.

What this all boils down to is that "Runaway Father" is a solid, interesting and entertaining true story movie. But it is one which feels like it has anger issues against all men which skews it.