What parents need to know
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.