All of my favorite films from the 1980s stem from a little lady I like to call “Mom”. If it wasn’t for her, I would be in the dark on gems like this one. OVERBOARD is likely in her top five favorite movies made in the 80s. I’ve never asked her to make a list but after this review I may. This film also proves why Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn have been together for so long. Their chemistry literally jumps off the screen. This is what separates this 80s romantic comedy from the majority.
OVERBOARD starts out as the ultimate male revenge tale then eventually becomes a heart-warming story of a broken family. Does that sound intense? Yeah but we’re grown-ups, it’s okay to dig a little deeper than normal. The film opens with rich, uptight and rude Joanna Stayton (Hawn) enjoying time on her glorious yacht. She orders everyone around and acts like a spoiled little girl. Joanna’s husband Grant (Edward Hermann) is unconcerned and would rather let Joanna do whatever she wants than actually put up with her. The tree the apple fell from, otherwise known as Joanna’s mom (Katherine Helmond), is always on the other end of a phone call. She’s twice as pompous and non-caring as her daughter. The whole thing is something out of an old episode of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”.
When their yacht docks in Elk Cove, Oregon, Joanna decides that her closet needs to be remodeled. She calls up local carpenter Dean Proffitt (Russell) to come on board and do the job. When the remodel is complete, the closet looks amazing. However, the big deal breaker comes over the choice of wood. Joanna refuses to pay and harsh words are spoken. This is only made worse when Dean is shoved over the boat along with his tools. Later that evening, Joanna loses her wedding ring and when she goes to get it, she falls overboard. Next thing we know is our snooty heroine is in the hospital looking not so hot. Lucky for Dean, Joanna shows up on the news as a Jane Doe with amnesia. The vengeful carpenter seizes the opportunity and goes to the hospital claiming that Joanna is actually his long lost wife, Annie.
Dean’s plan is simple and genius in his own eyes. Use Annie to clean the house, watch the kids, and do whatever else a wife would do. However, Annie does not already possess these skills. So the fun part becomes watching Annie basically fail at everything. To join in on this watching party is Dean’s four boys ranging in ages from 7 to 14. These kids are wild and wrangling them is a job in itself. Everything is all fun and games until Joanna eventually starts to slip into the role of Annie, doting mom and wife. Dean starts to see this as well and starts to enjoy having her around.
The end of the story is a predictable one, but this is not an overall loss for the audience. There are tons of laughs and great character performances. It’s not a comedy that broke any boundaries or busted down any doors. While the situation is not a normal one, you feel for Dean even if he was kind of a jerk. The feeling that family gives is one that anyone can fall for.
Video (1.85:1 Widescreen): This is another case of a film being too old to transfer or someone being too lazy to give it a proper transfer. You don’t even get mediocre quality here. May as well just pop in a DVD or VHS at least you know what to expect.
Audio (5.1 DTS-HD): The sound is only a half step up and only reaches mediocre because there are no significant problems. If you put out a Blu-ray, you should at least try harder or it’s not worth the extra coin shelled out for it.