'80s comedy has some iffy stuff for PG; won't interest kids.
  • Review Date: August 18, 2010
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 112 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Though everyone learns a lesson and falls in love by the end, the road to that ending is really quite mean. Joanna starts the movie spoiled, rich, and bored; she treats Dean with contempt. When she loses her memory, he acts out of revenge, pretending that she's actually his wife and that she lives in poverty with their four boys. He makes her cook and clean, giving her as good as she gave him. Eventually he feels bad, but this negative behavior is celebrated as comedy for a good portion of the movie.

Positive role models

Both Hawn and Russell's characters eventually learn their lessons and find love with one another, but they're particularly nasty people until that point. Hawn's character is spoiled and bored, treating everyone around her with impatience and contempt. Russell takes revenge on her, but it's wildly unfair. He lies to her, humiliates her, and treats her as a slave in his home. Eventually he comes to like her, but he can't bring himself to tell her the truth; it comes out accidentally, later on.


Not much more than some mild arguing and a few pratfalls.


No nudity, but characters kiss and make love in bed. Joanna appears in a very revealing bathing suit that makes her look naked from the back. (Dean is able to identify a birthmark in a sensitive area.) Joanna finds a pair of panties in the glove compartment of Dean's truck, and he can't explain where they came from. The husband character parties heavily on board his yacht with several half-dressed ladies. Otherwise, there's plenty of sex-related talk, including mentions of getting "knocked up," phone sex, and "painted ladies."


We hear at least five mentions of "s--t," as well as more than one use of "bitch," "damn," "slut," "Goddamn," "God," and "ass."


Several products are visible in the family's home, including M&Ms, Trix cereal, Lifesavers, Mr. Bubble, and Ajax cleaner.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Grownups drink plenty of beer. Characters drink martinis and champagne. Hardly anyone drinks to the point of overindulgence, though the husband character is seen having some crazy parties on board his yacht.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Overboard is a 1980s variation on the classic screwball comedy genre. The characters behave outrageously, and are slightly less charming than their 1930s and 1940s counterparts; they eventually learn their lessons, but they're just not very nice people. The comic revenge plot goes a bit too far. The movie is rated PG, but it has some fairly strong language (including several uses of "s--t"), as well as sex and sex talk (no nudity). Four younger boys are part of the story (the children of Dean's former marriage), though there are relatively few "family" situations to laugh at. It's unlikely that younger kids will be interested in this story, but older teens and parents may find it mildly diverting.

What's the story?

Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn) is a bored, nasty socialite who orders a new closet for her yacht. The brusque yet charming handyman Dean Proffitt (Kurt Russell) turns up for the job, but of course, his finished product is not up to her exacting specifications, and he's fired without pay. Later, she falls overboard and loses her memory. Seeing a chance for revenge, Dean shows up at the hospital and claims her as his wife, "Annie." He brings her to his distinctly lower-class hovel, and makes her clean, cook, and care for his four boys (he's a widower). Eventually, they begin to fall in love for real, but what happens when the other shoe drops and "Annie" realizes what's really going on?

Is it any good?


Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Valentine's Day) directs this romantic comedy in the vein of the screwball classics of the 1930s and 1940s, but he lacks a certain sharpness that could have kept the material in check; it wanders out of control. Hawn is very funny as the spoiled, horrible socialite, but after that first section, she has much less to do. It's uncomfortable watching as her character moans and whines about her chores, and then sadly begins to accept her lot.

Russell is a charming comic actor, and he and Hawn share a nice onscreen chemistry (they were, and still are, a real-life couple), but his character is painted as slightly vindictive and careless; he doesn't seem to care if his kids act like hooligans. What's more, the four kids have very little to do with this equation, other than to assemble for a few obligatory "cute" scenes. Happily, the great Roddy McDowall appears in a few nice scenes as Hawn's long-suffering butler.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Dean's revenge plot against Joanna. Does it go too far? Or does she deserve what she gets?

  • Joanna is forced to cook and clean for a time. Is her character a stereotype?

  • Is the movie too sexy for a story about a family?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 16, 1987
DVD release date:January 19, 1999
Cast:Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Roddy McDowall
Director:Garry Marshall
Run time:112 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Overboard was written by

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bySarah Grace September 6, 2012


A butt. Language. And other unpleasant things. Otherwise, it was a nice story.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byreveiwjeeney July 21, 2012

dont worry about the sex

yes there is some reveling things but it is very quick. i saw it when i was 11 and i thought it was great. something the whole family can enjoy.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written byGreatMoviePics August 7, 2011

Great movie for kids REALLY FUNNY

It's a great movie for your kids! It's hilarious and your kids will love it. The people in the movie work hard and show good values.


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