Overboard (1987) starring Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Edward Herrmann, Katherine Helmond, Mike Hagerty, Roddy McDowall directed by Garry Marshall - movie review on The Movie Scene

Overboard (1987)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Kurt Russell as Dean Proffitt in Overboard (1987)

Russell goes Overboard to get the Hawn

Even an unoriginal movie can be entertaining which is most certainly the case of "Overboard" which sees real life partners Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell unite on the big screen. "Overboard" is fundamentally a formulaic romantic comedy which works on the often used premise of a rich person learning a bit of humility and realising by the end of the movie what really is important. But what makes "Overboard" so entertaining is that it is full of comedy, not just stupid gags but clever scenes which build on the story and at the same time making you laugh.

When spoilt bitch Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn - Protocol) floats into Elk Cove on her luxury yacht she decides to have some work done on it and employs local carpenter Dean (Kurt Russell - Escape from New York) to redesign her closet. Unhappy with his work she refuses to pay throwing him and his tools off the yacht and into the water. But the next day when Joanna is brought to town suffering from amnesia having fallen off the yacht herself Dean spots an opportunity to get his revenge. Pretending to be her husband he brings her back to his run down home and along with his four children who go along with the ruse make her life a misery whilst she sets about being a mum.

Goldie Hawn as Joanna Stayton in Overboard (1987)

So the thing is that with "Overboard" you know where things are going not long after the opening credits roll, you can guess that decent working class Dean will get together with spoilt bitch Joanna and although there is the early antagonism as Dean builds a wardrobe, romance is going to happen somehow. How it all comes about is the fun part and although contrived it is also clever as Joanne falls off the boat, suffers amnesia and Dean spots the chance to get revenge on her for unpaid work by making out tht they are husband and wife. Queue plenty of troubles as Dean's four children and hill billy lifestyle is a culture shock to Joanne or Annie as he calls her.

It sounds daft and ultimately "Overboard" is but with Annie suffering indignity at the hands of Dean and his four meddlesome boys there is plenty of comedy. There is almost a cruel streak to the comedy as you laugh at the way that Annie struggles with housework, married life and so on whilst still not fully believing who she is. But you can't but help laugh when Annie ends up with plates glued to her hands, or tries to do the laundry with a washing machine that seems to have a life of its own. And it's not all one way, the humour is spread about so the kids and Dean equally end up the butt of a few jokes.

A lot of why this works is down to the pairing up of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell who understandably work well together playing to their character types of Goldie being naturally sexy as well as a bit ditzy and Russell more rugged. The natural chemistry just radiates in every scene even when Dean is being almost comically vindictive towards Annie and as such the comedy between them feels natural as if Russell is just being mischievous and Hawn being a little dappy.

The pairing also helps when "Overboard" changes track and goes from focusing on the humour to exploring the expected romantic side as Dean and Annie end up falling for each other. It really has a nice feel to it, believable and simple rather than feeling overly manufactured. It even has some nice unexpected tender moments which make it more than just a throw away rom-com. But even when the romantic side of the storyline is explored there is still plenty of humour stopping it from ever approaching the sickly sweet stage.

What this all boils down to is that "Overboard" is a little more than just your average romantic comedy and because it features real life partners Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell there is a real naturalness to the humour and romance despite it revolving around an expected contrived storyline. It may be a little dated in places, especially the various swimsuits which Goldie Hawn wears early on but the storyline and humour have stood the test of time and is still funny now some 25 years later.


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