“It’s time for a remake,” they shouted. “Yay,” replied a chorus of… none. Well, maybe there were a few mumbles of profitable speculation when Rob Greenberg and clan pitched the idea to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but we can rest assured knowing that Garry Marshall’s 1987 Overboard probably did not need a revamp. But hey ho, here it is in its gender-flipped entirety, so let’s give it a chance. After all, 31 years have passed since the release of its predecessor, meaning an entirely new generation is available for enchanting and some modern tones may provide a refreshing interpretation.
In truth, there really wasn’t much substance to the plot of the original film and, unfortunately, this 2018 feature has followed suit. In this release, Kate (Anna Faris) is a single, working-class mother of three struggling to make ends meet whilst she studies to become a nurse. Hired to clean a luxury yacht that belongs to Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez), a selfish, spoiled and wealthy Mexican playboy, the two opposites engage in an unappetising meeting ending with Leonardo pushing Kate into the water. Later that evening, karma bites back as he also falls off the boat, waking up with amnesia. In an act of revenge, Kate seeks to trick Leonardo into believing he is in fact her husband, setting him hard tasks, manual labour and housework and using him to her advantage.
It is easy to gage what sort of two-hour display we are subjecting ourselves to from the movie’s opening montages, which tell us precisely what is happening, as well as why. Because of this hand-holding, the picture falls into the category of a feel-good film, one that fails to push the boundaries but remains firm in its beliefs. Having been labelled as a romantic comedy, it is a pity that most of the more entertaining moments occur through slapstick and less-than-imaginative writing, aside from a few ingenious references to the feature’s 1987 predecessor. Faris’s comic ability is criminally underused as the loving single mother devoted to her children, with the greater comedic responsibility falling on Derbez. That is not to say the actress is underwhelming in her role, but more that she could have brought another dimension to it and the film had she been given the opportunity. In fact, at times viewers would be forgiven for despising the actions of Kate towards her male counterpart, with acts of cruelty not seeming to fairly match the crime, but as has been said, this is down to the screenplay rather than the performances.
Nevertheless, the movie is a grower, providing a warmer, more comfortable tone as it progresses through the second and third acts after a sloppy start. There are strong moral guidelines that begin to emerge as time passes, leaving a permanent statement in its wake that money doesn’t buy comparable happiness to that of a loving family. Following a May release in the United States, Overboard has already grossed upwards of $80m, injecting optimism into the days prior to its UK release. If cinema-goers are feeling like a cheesy American flick, then this remake is for them, if not for the plot, then for the ending where we are all reminded that “life is richer without money” – but wait, actually it is better if you have a lot of it.
Overboard is released nationwide on 22nd June 2018.
Watch the trailer for Overboard here: