You know, there’s a lot of things that I shouldn’t like about this movie. I know it’s not cool to like Goldie Hawn anymore, but I think she’s a genuinely funny woman who left an indelible mark for women comedians. She stepped up and did slapstick and humor with ease, natural ability and comedic timing, no matter what you think of her movies.
I know Kurt Russell is far better known for his action roles in some more iconic eighties movies. I know that there’s all the snark in the world headed his way thanks to all the endless countdown shows mocking anything and everything that came out of the decade. But Goldie Hawn needed a comedic straight man to work off of, and he did quite well. Much like Nicolas Cage in, “Raising Arizona”, Russell pulled off one of the single most convincing “down home” country characters in, “Overboard” that I’ve ever seen.
I know the plot sounds ridiculous and contrived, but so does the plot to most movies when you really stop and think about it. The plot to another Garry Marshall directed film sounds fairly thin too, but, “Pretty Woman” did okay in the end. (You just can’t keep a good romantic comedy down!) The plot for, “Overboard” breaks down as follows: mean rich woman abuses day laborer, woman falls off boat and hits head ending up with amnesia, mean rich woman’s husband leaves her in the hospital she woke up in, day laborer sees opportunity for revenge and takes mean rich amnesia woman home as his wife. I know, I shouldn’t like it, but I really do!
At its heart, this very underestimated comedy is actually a Cinderella story. It’s all encompassing too, the house gets a makeover, rich lady gets an emotional makeover, day laborer gets a career makeover and the kids get a behavioral makeover. What’s not to love? Try as you might, you simply can’t make me hate a Cinderella story, no matter what the actual premise, especially not one that lays it on this thick. “Overboard” manages to deliver a believable comedy, and more remarkably a very sweet love story. On top of everything else, it manages to be a family film! Unlike many other movies involving kids, the kids actually get to grow and change as characters in the film right along with the adults. Character development for kids is typically reserved for, “kid’s movies”.
This is one of those films that a cynical film snob, like me, would run into on cable some lazy Saturday afternoon. The film snob may chuckle and think to themselves how silly this movie is, how independent films are infinitely better and dramas far more worthy of our time. At least give us a big budget spectacle if we must watch populism. But then you mysteriously stay tuned in, then you scoot closer to the TV., before you know it, you’re rooting for Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell to get together. By the end of the movie, you feel so good that you just want to get up, clean your house, and kiss your husband. I dare you not to love it. Even if you tell everybody that you really don’t. I suggest you buy it, and if you like it, may I also suggest Frank Oz’s excellent, “Housesitter”.