Overboard (1987)

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Overboard (1987) Movie Poster Image
'80s comedy has some strong language, iffy messages.
  • PG
  • 1987
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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. 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 & Representations

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

Mild arguing and a few pratfalls.

Sex

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."

Language

At least five uses of "s--t," plus more than one use of "bitch," "damn," "slut," "goddamn," "God," and "ass."

Consumerism

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.

What 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.)

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult 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.
Adult Written bySarah Grace September 6, 2012

Um...

A butt. Language. And other unpleasant things. Otherwise, it was a nice story.
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.
Teen, 13 years old Written byskwunkel July 1, 2015

Good film, a fun heartwarming movie

This is fun for the whole family, nothing too graphic, one use of the s-word and the b-word but that is about it

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?

Movie details

For kids who love comedies

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