Overboard (1987) Snapshot Review

Overboard Hawn Russell

Overboard (1987)
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 (Goldie Hawn) tries to do local carpenter Dean (Kurt 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 (in his hit song “Acceptable in the 80s”) 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 (Edward Herrmann) finds a new sense of freedom and avoids looking for her.

Leslie Dixon has been criticised for penning a romantic comedy 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.

Kurt Russell dons his Big Trouble In Little China (directed by John Carpenter) hat and dishes out some sarcastic brilliance and attitude-filled one liners throughout, while Goldie 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 (director of Pretty Woman), and is so ‘of the decade’ I am doubtful the upcoming Rob Greenberg remake will be a success.

Flaws aside, Overboard 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.

Score: 10/24

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