‘Overboard’ Movie Review: Anna Faris & Eugenio Derbez Are Sweet Enough To Overcome Remake’s Flaws
The original Overboard came out 30 years ago, which is an eternity in the movie industry, and that sounds about right, as that Kurt Russell–Goldie Hawn rom-com does not exactly feel particularly timeless. The story of an amnesiac heiress being taken advantage of by the worker she stiffed is both a little too creepy and a little too ridiculous for 2018 sensibilities. So what are we to make of the existence of the Overboard remake, which keeps the same general concept and plot outline? It is gender-flipped, with the woman (Anna Faris) now taking advantage of the awful man (Eugenio Derbez), which makes it kind of less creepy, though it is still fundamentally disturbing. And the amnesia element makes no effort to be scientifically sound, but at least the telenovela-obsessed characters are self-aware about that. Overall, it adds up to a somewhat intoxicating fantasy that is sweet enough to enjoy in the moment, if not exactly hold up as a hallmark of sterling morality.
The key to enjoying Overboard is accepting that someone has it within himself to be both the most obnoxious person ever and the most thoughtful person ever. Leonardo (Derbez) starts the film off as a profoundly unapologetic womanizing playboy. He is so obnoxious that when he falls off his yacht and then wakes up in a hospital with amnesia, his sister chooses to fake his death instead of confirming his identity (although that also has to do with her designs to take his place in becoming the new head of the family company). So Kate (Faris), the widowed cleaning lady who he abused and refused to pay, swoops in and pretends to be his wife. She is actually motivated less by revenge and more by the need to have someone help out around the house and look after her three daughters, so that she can have time to study for her nursing exam instead of delivering pizzas all day. And wouldn’t you know, the relative purity of Kate’s intentions works to make the deviousness inherent in the plan less disturbing (or less prominent, at least).
Most of the initial humor is based on the shenanigans of Leonardo, who has never worked a day in his life, being forced to carry around concrete on a construction job. It is not-very-imaginative physical comedy, but about halfway through, Overboard pivots into an oddly thought-provoking story about transformation. Being poor sucks, but it does not suck as much when you take pride in your work and put effort and creativity into looking after your family, which Leonardo does, turning himself into a man Kate could actually fall in love with and that her girls can love as a new father.
In the stark difference between the two Leonardo’s, Overboard raises interesting questions about the nature of identity. How much does our environment and station in life shape who we become? In this case, it matters a whole hell of a lot. I would like to believe that we are all capable of redeeming ourselves as much as Leo does, and I am willing to suspend my disbelief enough to accept a decent chunk of Overboard’s wish fulfillment fantasy. Alas, that wish fulfillment is laid on a bit too thick, and it is all built on a foundation of extreme dishonesty, but ah, nobody’s perfect!
Starring: Anna Faris, Eugenio Derbez, Eva Longoria, Mel Rodriguez, John Hannah, Swoosie Kurtz
Director: Rob Greenberg
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Rating: PG-13 for Discussions About Alcoholism, Mostly Lightweight References to Sexuality, and a Cartoon Character Butt Tattoo
Release Date: May 4, 2018