Directed by: Rob Greenberg
Premise: A remake of the 1987 film. A mean yacht owner (Eugenio Derbez) falls overboard and washes up on shore with amnesia. A single mother (Anna Faris) who he had previously mistreated claims he is her husband.
What Works: 1987’s Overboard was not a great movie but it was generally likable and the same is true of the remake. The new movie succeeds in what it’s trying to be: a nice romantic comedy. This is the sort of inoffensive entertainment that’s designed to go down easy. Its success can largely be credited to the lead actors. Swapping the genders of the original film, Eugenio Derbez is cast as the son of a billionaire who mistreats a down-on-her-luck carpet cleaner played by Anna Faris. When he is struck with amnesia she claims this man as her husband and brings him into her home to lend a hand while she gets back on her feet. Derbez and Faris are great together. Each of them has superb comic timing but they’re also capable of drama and the way their relationship turns into genuine affection is sweet and enjoyable to watch. As a remake, the 2018 version of Overboard retains the premise of the original as well as the key plot points but there is enough that is new to justify this version. In fact, the filmmakers find ways of improving the material. They’ve clearly thought through the premise and fixed some of the problems and implausibilities of the original story. There is a particularly smart change in the ending. The family fortune figures into the climax and the filmmakers take advantage of that in a way that helps the love story.
What Doesn’t: Overboard is a predictable film and not just because it is a remake. Anyone who saw the trailer has essentially seen the movie including most of the best jokes. Just like the 1987 film, the remake of Overboard glosses over the problematic parts of the material. This is, after all, a romanticized treatment of gas lighting and kidnapping. But the filmmakers polish down anything potentially edgy. Some of that is due to the filmmaking style. The Overboard remake was directed by Rob Greenberg. He has primarily worked on television sitcoms and it shows. Overboard doesn’t have much visual flair and it often has the bland look of a television comedy. The 2018 version of Overboard is so safe and so nice that it lacks humor. The movie coasts on the likability of its star players and their shared charisma but it’s never all that funny. As part of the movie’s restraint, the filmmakers resist making Eugenio Derbez’s character as awful as Goldie Hawn was in the 1987 version. He’s never so despicable or obnoxious that we crave to see him get his comeuppance and that lessens the impact of his rehabilitation.
Bottom Line: The remake of Overboard is not a great film but it is a nice and inoffensive piece of entertainment. The film succeeds largely because of the talents of Eugenio Derbez and Anna Faris who make a charming comic duo.
Episode: #699 (May 20, 2018)