Overboard (1987) Snapshot Review
Director: Garry Marshall
Writer: Leslie Dixon
Starring: Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Edward Herrmann, Roddy McDowall, Mike Hagerty, Katherine Helmond
A film that entirely encapsulates its title, Overboard holds a cast of the decade’s cherished regulars whose performances are sure to smack a smile on the sternest of faces – so long as they can overlook the whole slave labour kidnapping sub-plot.
Stuck up heiress Joanna (Hawn) tries to do local carpenter Dean (Russell) out of $600 when he remodels her wardrobe. Dean goes on to find Joanna in the hospital with a bad case of amnesia, and seizing his chance at revenge, tells her that they are married.
Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Joanna must now look after Dean’s four rowdy boys in an absolute biohazard of a house as Dean desperately tries to keep her from finding out the truth.
Calvin Harris once sung that it was acceptable in the 80s and I think this movie was his inspiration.
Overboard makes light of Joanna’s struggles as she attempts to cook, clean and fend for herself, while an amused Dean piles on the pressure and her husband Grant (Herrmann) finds a new sense of freedom and avoids looking for her.
Dixon has been criticised for penning a rom-com with slavery and trickery at its core, but like many films in this golden cinematic age, Overboard is more farce than love story.
The plot is undeniably predictable with some gags being spotted a mile away, yet somehow it manages to brush this off and wins you over with its over-exaggerated slapstick hilarity.
Russell dons his Big Trouble In Little China hat and dishes out some sarcastic brilliance and attitude-filled one liners, while Hawn manages to make misfortune and misery look extremely funny.
This film has all the cheese and charm you would expect from master of the iffy rom-com Garry Marshall, and is so ‘of the decade’ I am doubtful the upcoming Rob Greenberg remake will be a success.
Flaws aside, it hits the right notes and slowly drizzles in emotive and more realistic elements. If you take this playful 80s comedy on face value it is almost impossible to not get dragged along for the ride– even if it does go a bit overboard.
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