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Friday, May 11, 2018

Overboard

WRITER'S NOTE: As I stated last weekend, the remake of Overboard did not arrive at my local theater, so I was not planning to review it.  However, it did show up this weekend, and so I have seen it, and now, you are reading my thoughts.  My apologizes to Mr. Elmer Homero. (See his comment to my post from last weekend about not reviewing it.) All I can say is that I hope you appreciate what I do for you readers.


1987's Overboard has never been a favorite of mine, but it at least has a kind of energy to it, and a likable leading team up by real life couple Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn.  By contrast, this 2018 remake seems to have had all the life drained from it to the point that the film becomes a slow, meandering slog.  The movie picks certain moments to recreate from the original, only in a manner that can only be described as "Dead on Arrival".  It doesn't help that the lead stars Anna Farris and Eugenio Derbez possess no chemistry up on the screen, and often seem as bored as the audience likely is with this material.

Now both Farris and Derbez can be likable with the right material, but this movie gives them nothing to work with.  We are supposed to be watching them fall in love, and watching Derbez transform from a spoiled and entitled wealthy heir, to a genuine family man.  However, I didn't buy a single second of their relationship, not even when they start out hating each other, because the two stars sleepwalk through their individual roles.  I also didn't buy the premise, which suggests that a woman with three young daughters would allow a strange man she barely knows to live with her and be around her kids, acting as their father.  I know, the original movie has the exact same premise, only gender-reversed. (In the original, it was the Hawn character who was the spoiled and entitled brat, and Russell as the family man with the kids.) The idea was hard enough to swallow in 1987.  In 2018, it's nearly impossible.

Farris plays Kate, a single mom juggling trying to raise three precocious daughters who talk and act like they stepped out of a sitcom (Is this a good time to point out that the film's director, Rob Greenberg, has worked solely in television up to this point?), while also holding down two jobs as a pizza delivery driver and a carpet cleaner, and studying to take a nursing exam.   One of her carpet cleaning jobs brings her face-to-face with Leonardo (Derbez), a billionaire playboy living off his father's fortune, who has never worked a day in his life, and spends all of his time sailing on his luxury yacht.  When Kate is hired to clean the carpets on the yacht, the two instantly are at odds with one another, and it all ends with Leonardo pushing her off of his ship, and throwing her cleaning equipment into the water.  Some time later, Leonardo ends up falling off his own ship in a drunken stupor, crashes into the sea, and winds up losing his memory.

He washes ashore in the small town of Elk Grove, Oregon, and checks himself into a local hospital, where a doctor happens to observe that there was an amnesia case just like this "with a pretty blonde woman back in the 80s". (So, if the people in this town are aware about the events in the original, is this a sequel that just happens to have the exact same plot, or what?)  Kate finds out about Leonardo having lost his memory, and under the urging of her best friend (Eva Longoria), sets up a scheme where she convinces Leonardo and everyone else that he is her husband and father to her three kids.  Her plan is to take revenge on him by having him cook and clean for her, and also do backbreaking labor for a friend's construction company.  She also makes him sleep on a cot in a shed in the backyard, instead of allowing him to sleep in the house.  But, little by little, Leonardo turns out to be a wiz in the kitchen, and great with the kids.  Kate starts to fall for him, and also starts to feel terrible about what she is doing to him.

As a movie, Overboard barely has a pulse.  It simply goes through the motions, recreating famous moments or lines of dialogue from the original, and throwing in a few nods here and there that fans can point at.  When it's not playing on our memories, it's a lifeless and dreary affair.  The movie can barely muster enough enthusiasm to give us scenes where Leonardo is supposed to be changing his ways and bonding with Kate and her girls.  Speaking of Kate's kids, they're basically treated as a throwaway plot device used only when convenient.  He helps the youngest daughter learn how to ride a bike without training wheels, and has a scene where he talks to the oldest 13-year-old girl about boys, but that's about it.  We never get a sense of any real personal connection.  It's even more pathetic that we never feel any sort of connection between Kate and Leonardo at any time.  The script doggedly tries to tell us they're falling for each other, but due to Greenberg's lifeless direction and the hollow line readings by the stars, we feel absolutely no electricity.

It's almost as if the filmmakers knew that the central romance was a lost cause, because it keeps on trying to distract us with subplots about Leonardo's scheming sister trying to fake his death so she can take over father's company herself, and a bunch of tired pratfalls when Leonardo tries his hand at manual labor for the first time working for the construction company.  This leads to a lot of unnecessary scenes that the movie would be better off without, and would have made it shorter and perhaps more bearable. (As it stands, the movie runs an overlong two hours.) This is such a drab little movie that generates little to no laughs, and makes you wish you were watching the two talented lead stars lending their abilities to something else.  There are few more depressing experiences at the movies than watching a film that is completely and utterly bankrupt in inspiration, and watching the stars doing their best to put on a brave face, but their misery still manages to show through.

Overboard is a witless and unnecessary remake of a movie that wasn't very good the first time around, but glows in comparison to what's on display here.  Its sole purpose seems to be to gender swap the two lead roles, and it seems to have lost any sort of meaning after that decision was made.  If you don't have enough inspiration beyond changing the genders of the main characters, maybe you shouldn't be making the movie in the first place.

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