Note: this was written in 2018, soon after the film came out. At the time, I was trying to get another film site off the ground. It didn’t fly, which is fine, but I thought it worthwhile to import the few reviews I’d written. Also, there are spoilers below.
The 1987 Overboard is one of my mom’s favorite movies, and one that she was eager to share with me when I was old enough. Over thirty years later, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell still hold their own in what remains a clever and funny comedy, good for a laugh even though we all know how it’s going to end.
The remake, on the other hand, feels more like a cheap start-of-summer box office cash grab that will flicker across the big screen and disappear into the $3 DVD bargain bin at Best Buy in a few months.
It’s not that it’s not funny. It has its moments. A doctor comments that they’ve only had one previous case of amnesia there, one lady in the 80’s—an obvious tribute to the original that somehow still made me chuckle. There’s plenty of cheap slapstick humor too, but overall it lacks charm and chemistry.
Some have made a big deal out of the gender roles being flipped in the remake. It didn’t bother me; there just didn’t seem to be a reason for it. Regardless, it’s now a rich Mexican playboy, Leonardo, who is conned by Kate, a single mother of three who works two jobs while studying for her nursing exam. And from there, the story progresses as we all know it will—playboy insults cleaning lady and pushes her overboard, he later takes a tumble himself, gets amnesia, cleaning lady seizes chance for payback, tells playboy he’s her husband, the two fall in love . . .
In an interesting twist, the filmmakers chose to sprinkle the film liberally with Spanish conversation, using subtitles to translate the banter for English viewers. While this added cultural flair to the film, the subtitles took away from the humor. I sat in front of a Spanish-speaking couple at the theater who laughed the whole way through, so I’m sure the conversation in Spanish was far funnier than the English translation of it. But for a comedy, this bi-lingual approach fell flat.
Overall, the acting was subpar—nearly cringe-worthy at times. I’m not familiar with Eugenio Derbez, though from what I gather he’s something of a phenomenon in places, but I expected more from Anna Faris. Colin, the Scottish butler, and the Norwegian yacht crew—particularly the Norwegian rock-loving captain—were just as funny and got far less screen time than the top-billed actors.
Who thought there was demand for a remake—much less green-lighted the project itself—is unknown. And while I definitely look forward to sharing the original with my kids someday, I won’t waste their time with this one. If you have time to kill, a MoviePass, and you’ve exhausted all other options, there’s nothing to lose on this one except a few brain cells. Otherwise, it’s really not worth the time or money.