By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
'80s comedy has some strong language, iffy messages.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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. He acts out of revenge and 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 much of the movie.
Positive Role Models
Both Joanna and Dean eventually learn their lessons and find love with each other, but they're particularly nasty people until that point. Joanna is spoiled and bored, treating everyone around her with impatience and contempt. Dean takes revenge on her, but it's wildly unfair. He lies to her, humiliates her, and treats her like 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.
Violence & Scariness
Mild arguing and a few pratfalls.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
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. Plenty of sex-related talk, including mentions of getting "knocked up," phone sex, and "painted ladies."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
At least five uses of "s--t," plus more than one use of "bitch," "damn," "slut," "goddamn," "God," and "ass."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Several products are visible in the family's home, including M&Ms, Trix cereal, Lifesavers, Mr. Bubble, and Ajax cleaner.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink plenty of beer. Characters drink martinis and champagne. Hardly anyone drinks to excess, though the husband character is seen having some crazy parties on board his yacht.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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. Expect 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. (The 2018 remake flips the main characters' genders for a new twist.)
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 7 parent reviews
“Tits”, language, and thongs, oh my!
Report this review
Report this review
What's the Story?
In OVERBOARD, 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 directs this this movie in the vein of 1930s and 1940s screwball classics, 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 a real-life couple until Marshall's passing in 2016), but his character in Overboard 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.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Dean's revenge plot against Joanna in Overboard. 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?
- In theaters: December 16, 1987
- On DVD or streaming: January 19, 1999
- Cast: Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Roddy McDowall
- Director: Garry Marshall
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 112 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate