Movie Review: 'Overboard'
“Overboard” is a remake of a reprehensible 1987 film starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. In that film, poor slob Russell takes advantage of the amnesia suffered by the snobby Hawn by convincing her that she’s his wife and mother to his four children. She struggles with household chores, which is mildly amusing, and the two wind up in bed together, which is disgusting. It makes no difference that she has fallen for him at this point in the film, he is taking advantage of a woman with brain damage, and his actions constitute rape. Now the film is being remade with Anna Faris as the poor slob and Eugenio Derbez as the spoiled jerk whose amnesia is being exploited. This film could have at least corrected the most glaring flaw in the 1987 version, but it doesn’t, and it’s horribly unfunny elsewhere to boot.
Kate (Faris) has to work two jobs to support her and her three daughters, leaving her little time to pursue her dream career as a nurse. She does some carpet-cleaning on the private yacht of wealthy construction heir Leo (Derbez), but he stiffs her on payment, pushes her into the ocean, and destroys her equipment, putting her in a worse financial situation than ever. That night, he drunkenly falls overboard, miraculously makes it to shore, and winds up in the hospital with amnesia. Kate seizes the opportunity to pretend he’s her husband so she can take him home and put him to work, taking care of things around the house and working a construction job so she can pocket his paychecks and have time to study for a nursing exam. Leo’s a flop at first because he has no skills (he’s forgotten his name and that he doesn’t have a wife and kids, but he’ll never forget to act like an entitled cretin), but eventually he takes to his newfound family and they like having him around. But of course, Kate can’t hide the truth forever.
Everywhere you look, there’s something to dislike about this movie. Kate’s nurse studying mainly focuses on scatological material mined for cheap humor. She’s somehow the first person to “identify” Leo at the hospital despite him being one of the richest people in the world, with both his disappearance and the story of the mysterious amnesiac being covered on the news. Leo works a construction job that he can’t handle, which is a detriment to the rest of his crew, but they just laugh and put up with him. Kate and Leo get in a fight about disciplining one of the daughters for disobeying Kate, and the idea is supposed to be that they’re both making good points, but no, she’s 100% right. Leo’s family eventually shows up at Kate’s house with hardly any explanation of how they pieced the events of the film together. And on top of all of that, the whole thing is an incredibly predictable story where most of the gags simply fall flat.
It also bears mentioning that as in the original, the amnesiac and the person taking advantage of them end up in bed together. Honestly, I couldn’t work up the outrage that I had toward the original film. Maybe it’s because this version makes it clear that former playboy Leo really wants to bed Kate, which I know doesn’t make it right, but softens it on an unofficial level. More likely it’s because I’ve seen the original so I know to anticipate that development, which makes it less shocking. But I think the biggest reason of all is that this is such a bland, worthless movie that nothing about it is worth an emotion as strong as outrage. The people behind this movie surely had better things to do with their time and money than remake “Overboard” and you surely have better things to do with your time and money than see this garbage.
“Overboard” is rated PG-13 for suggestive material, partial nudity and some language. Its running time is 112 minutes.
Robert R. Garver is a graduate of the Cinema Studies program at New York University. His weekly movie reviews have been published since 2006.