Overboard (2018) Review
AN UNWANTED REMAKE
Back in 1987, the same here when movies such as Wall Street, Good Morning, Vietnam, Dirty Dancing, Full Metal Jacket, and the Princess Bride theatrically debuted, an 80s comedy film titled Overboard was released. Directed by Garry Marshall, the movie, which starred actor Kurt Russell and actress Goldie Hawn, follows the story of a working-class man (Russell) who convinces a spoiled and selfish heiress (Hawn) with amnesia that they are a married couple. The premise of the film was simple and amusing, ensuring a lot of comedic angst that follow throughout the film (i.e. reversals as Hawn’s character adjust to her new lifestyle and current situation). Overboard, which made several million dollars over its production budget (i.e. 26.7 million at the box office against its 22 million budget) didn’t really win critics over, but does have small cult following through the years, with many praising the real-life relationship between Russell and Hawn reflecting strong on their respective characters in the movie. Eventually, Overboard found its way onto television being a sort of “comfort food” for several channels and its viewers throughout the syndicate programming years. Now, with Hollywood’s recent trend of remaking and revamping older films for a new generation of moviegoers, MGM Pictures (along with Pantelion Films and Lionsgate) and director Rob Greenberg present the 2018 remake film to the 1987 film, titled once again as Overboard. Does this updated version of the 80s film find a new stride within its narrative or is it just simply too bland and redundant for modern audiences to even care about?
Kate Sullivan (Anna Faris) is overwhelmed with her life, struggling with her nursing school studies while trying to maintain working several jobs, including a pizza delivery driver and a carpet cleaner to make ends meat for her three girls: Olivia (Alyvia Alyn Lind), Molly (Payton Lepinski), and Emily (Hannah Nordberg). Called to a massive luxurious yacht that belongs to billionaire playboy Leonardo Montenegro (Eugenio Derbez) for a carpet cleaning job, Kate immediately butts heads with Leonardo’s arrogant ways, who couldn’t care less for Kate’s position as he even pushes her off the boat when her vacuum services are no longer required. However, during some late-night frivolities with a model, Leonardo is knocked off his yacht, waking up on a beach with amnesia and no sense of who he is. Sensing a sort of revenge to get even on the awful man, Kate, along with her close friend Theresa (Eva Longoria) hatch a plan, soon coming to claim the bewildered man as her husband from the hospital, introducing him the “working class” life, including employment as an unskilled laborer. Going along with his new reality, Leonardo eventually starts to begin to display some worth, forming a family Kate and her kids, offering her domestic stability she’s increasingly unwilling to part with, which begins to conflict with what she’s done to Leonardo’s current state of amnesia. Elsewhere, Leonardo’s sister Magdalena (Cecilia Suarez), tries to denies his existence to the world, reporting her brother’s death to their relatives with the hopes of gaining control of the wealthy Montenegro family business empire.
THE GOOD / THE BAD
Like many have said (be it online and / or “word of mouth”), the 1987 Overboard film isn’t exactly a destined classic in the range of 80s pop culture icon-ology, but it serves its purpose by displaying an amusing “what if” scenario. To me personally, my introduction to this movie was threw my parent, who liked the movie (my dad more so than my mom) as they always watch it when its on TV (which is almost like every two weeks or so) and has that somewhat light “crowd pleaser” for television audiences, which is probably the reason why so many syndicate TV channels air the movie from time to time. It’s clear to see the real-life chemistry between Russell and Hawn reflect upon their on-screen chemistry in their character, which makes the back-and-forth banter quite amusing and believable. Thus, the 1987 Overboard has its merits and is definitely a sort of “comfort food” for cinematic presentation to those who want something light and breezy.
This, of course, comes back around to my review for the new 2018 remake Overboard, the latest (and most certainly not the last) in the recent endeavors from Hollywood to repurpose and update past feature films for the viewing pleasure of modern audiences. To be quite honest, I really didn’t hear much internet buzz around the internet about this movie…that was until the film’s trailer was released online. After viewing the trailer, I just simply rolled my eyes and groaned “ugh…. not another remake”, which this 2018 version is clearly is to the 1987 original. “Why this even made?” was my first initial thought after watching the film’s trailer as it pretty much looked like the original Overboard film (just with a 2018 make-up over). It was clear from the get-go that this movie was gonna be mostly a “miss” for me, but I did like the principal (Faris and Derbez), so I decided to give this movie a try. However, my expectations for this movie were very low. So, what did I think of this movie? Well, it was exactly what I expected and that’s not a good thing. While its not terrible nor deplorably bad, Overboard is just simply a completely unnecessary remake feature that no one asked for nor needed to be made period.
Overboard is directed by Rob Greenberg, whose previous directorial works on TV shows including Impastor, Happy Endings, My Boys, and How I Met Your Mother. Given his background on syndicated comedy TV shows, Greenberg’s knowledge of the comedy bits and aspects aided him in acquiring the job of helm this 2018 remake of Overboard. Thus, this film makes Greenberg’s first attempt (i.e. debut) as a director for a theatrical feature film. For the most part, Greenberg does an adequate job, framing the picture in a stereotypical comedy movie endeavor from start to finish. Maybe his inexperience in handling such a project is the film’s ultimately downfall (more on that below), but Greenberg seems to handle himself well, structuring a film that, although is greatly predictable, is still a well-made film for the comedy genre. Trust me, I’ve seeing plenty of deplorable feature films that make Greenberg’s Overboard shine immensely. Additionally, Greenberg, along with Bob Fisher (and Leslie Dixon’s original story screenplay), write the film’s screenplay, telling the movie’s narrative that’s run something similar to the 1987 original. However, Greenberg and Fisher does offer a few need nuances to the story, including switching the gender roles of the two main leads (i.e. the man is the wealthy and arrogant individual and the woman is the helpless and struggling person) as well as adding a Latin flavor (including a backstory involving Leonardo’s family) into the Overboard narrative. To be honest, the Greenberg makes the feature feel like a stereotypical telenovela, including a lot of Spanish subtitles sub text spoken throughout and overdramatizing its bits here and there and drumming up a lot of onlookers and conspirators on both Katie and Leonardo’s family and friends. Thus, there are few new additions to the story of this Overboard, but Greenberg colors his shades of the Overboard outline in very familiar way (i.e. the core structure of the narrative remains the same from the 1987 film).
In terms of presentation, Overboard was fairly good, presenting its technical filmmaking aspects and nuances throughout the film that meets the industry standards for a comedy feature. Thus, a lot of the film’s main players behind the camera, including Brent Thomas (production design), Zoe Jink (set decoration), Karin Nosella (costume designs), Michael Barrett (cinematography), and Lyle Workman (musical composer), all provided the right amount to make the movie appeasing to the eye and ears. Thus, while the movie does suffer from a repetitive nature of originality, Overboard looks meet the standards for a 2018 comedy movie. So…. I guess that’s a good thing for the film.
Unfortunately, Overboard isn’t exactly what it’s cracked up to be and ultimately fails to impress with its new updates to the 1987 motion picture. The main problem is what you can already probably surmise from this review (or just from watching the film’s trailer) is that it’s a remake motion picture that no one really wanted or ask for. The original Overboard was adequately good and served its purpose, but it really didn’t scream the need to be remade for modern moviegoers. Thus, the whole experience of this 2018 Overboard (from onset to conclusion) is superfluous in nature. Adding to the notion, this new remake does little to enhance or refine the narrative being told. Again, the original film’s story was amusing (nothing highly creative), but it had enough gumption to fill a timeslot for an 80s feature film. The 2018 Overboard, however, doesn’t bring anything that much new to the story. Yes, there’s a gender role exchange between the two main characters and more of Latin-flavor throughout the film, but that’s pretty much it. Everything else, matches beat for beat with the 1987 version, which (again) makes viewing this new iteration of Overboard completely pointless. This goes back to the point of current Hollywood just simply recycling the old ideas into new ones by remaking and reframing older films for a new audience. While I’ve stated that it sometimes could work, the majority just simply fall flat on their faces, with 2018’s Overboard being a prime example. It’s really hard to give merit to this feature as it lacks originality and creativity into fusing the classic idea of “something old, something new”. In short, Overboard stands as living proof that today’s Hollywood is lacking the creative juices that the industry once did.
To be honest, this 2018 version rarely colors outside the lines, which means that Greenberg (along with Dixon and Fisher) create feature film that truly a “paint-by-numbers”, following a very familiar and predictable path that many will see coming from miles away. Again, the movie ultimately suffers the most from being overly familiar with its narrative and struggles to go outside the parameter of how the structure of the plot works. This causes the film to scream predictably and rarely causes any surprises along the way, making the film’s proceedings mostly vanilla and tasteless throughout majority of its runtime. Speaking of runtime, the movie, which clocks in around, one hour and fifty-two minutes long, feels much longer than what it originally is, making the whole experience dull and full of a few pacing problems with some completely unnecessary subplot scattered throughout, including one involving the quirks of Leonardo’s Norwegian yacht crew (which could’ve been hilarious if the idea wasn’t half-baked) and several of the plot points involving Katie’s three daughters. Basically, if you ever seeing the original Overboard film, you’ll know how the 2018 version will play out (and ultimately conclude) with little to no additional surprises added into the mix. Also, with the film fitting squarely into the comedy genre, one would expect the comedy aspect of Overboard to humorous, brimming with a lot of sight gags and jokes that viewers have grown accustomed to in recent comedy film endeavors. Unfortunately, Overboard’s comedy, for the most part, lacks a comedic punch, with most of its humorous lines and jokes either missing their mark completely or failing to land their own plane. There were a few jokes that I did chuckle at, but majority were just unfunny and blandly dull, which isn’t a good thing for a comedy film.
The cast in this new iteration of Overboard is a likeable one, with each actor and actresses are recognizable from their other various film projects. Unfortunately, due to the overall blandness of the film’s story, their respective character (and their development) are limited, with each one (be it major or minor) being a cookie cutter caricature that serves a plot and / or just to fill in the background in a few scenes here and there. At the head of pack (and who probably shine the most in the movie) are actress Anna Faris and actor Eugenio Derbez as the film’s protagonist characters Kate Sullivan and Leonardo Montenegro. Faris, known for her roles in Scary Movie, The House Bunny, and Mom, handles herself well in the role of Katie, playing up the down-on-her-luck character persona as well as being in the lead role. Her past track record of acting in comedy movies and televisions shows also helps, which makes her fine choice in a movie role like this. Thus, Faris is perfectly fine as Katie Sullivan. However, her character arc isn’t that quite redeemable nor compelling as her lead-costar is, which makes the character of Katie Sullivan less desirable and likeable than Derbez’ s Leonardo. Thus, it falls to Faris to elevate the character of which she does, making Katie more of a storytelling folly to the character of Leonardo rather than solid well-written comedy film main lead. As for Derbez, who is known for his roles in Geostorm, Miracles from Heaven, and How to be a Latin Lover, fares much better than Faris (the better of the two) as both his acting talents and comedic timing is much sharper, which makes him the funniest individual (both actor and character) of the feature, playing up the arrogant and playboy styles of Leonardo. Additionally, his character of Leonardo is much more develop and, while super similar to a mixture of the original Overboard character (just a gender swap of female to male) and something from a Spanish soap opera. Thus, Derbez’s portrayal of Leonardo Montenegro is solid and likeable choice for the movie. Unfortunately, while the original Overboard had the real-life chemistry relationship of actor Kurt Russell and actress Goldie Hawn in the roles of Dean Proffitt and Joanna Stayton, it’s hard to buy into the on-screen chemistry between Faris and Derbez. Both are good in their respective roles and handle themselves well, but their romantic relationship lacks that extra “oomph” of believability, which doesn’t help the movie.
The rest of the cast is more in supporting roles, ranging from moderate to small participant to the movie’s main narrative. This includes actress Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives and The Sentinel) as Kate’s best friend Theresa, actor Mel Rodriguez (The Last Man on Earth and The Watch) as Theresa’s husband Bobby, actor Josh Segarra (Chicago P.D. and Arrow) as Bobby’s nephew Jason, actor Fernando Lujan (The Last Call and Nora’s Will) as Leonardo’s elderly “papi” father, actress Cecilia Suarez (The Air I Breathe and Blue Eyelids) as Leonardo’s conniving sister Magdalena Montenegro, actress Mariana Trevino (Club of Crows and How to Break Up with Your Douchebag) as Leonardo’s other sister Sofia Montenegro, actress Swoosie Kurtz (Liar Liar and Cruel Intentions) as Kate’s mother Grace, and actress Alyvia Alyn Lind (Blended and The Young and the Restless), Payton Lepinski (Who Killed JonBenet?), Hannah Nordberg (Longmire and American Pastoral) as Katie’s three daughters Olivia, Molly and Emily. All of these actors and actresses (be young or old) are good in their respective roles, but all of their roles (in general) are either pretty generic (i.e. the jealous sister, the hot attractive friend with the goofy husband, the paint-by-numbers kids, etc.) and / or blithely flat that it’s hard to make their respective characters poignant or impressionable in the grand scheme of the movie. Thus, their performances are the only thing that elevates them and (sadly) most of them are just simply that….and nothing else, which is disappointing.
Down-on-her-luck Kate gives even against Leonardo’s arrogance by pretending to be his wife and enjoying getting her revenge on his once privileged life in the new movie Overboard. Director Rob Greenberg’s latest film takes the original narrative from the 1987 film of the same name and updates it’s for a modern audience by switching the gender roles of the main leads. While the movie’s Latin flavor adds a new twist and the film’s cast does what they can with the material given to them (elevating the pictures slightly on their own acting merits), the movie itself is totally unnecessary from start to finish, filled with numerous un-humorous gags, conventional plot devices, derivate material, and just a slapdash of a hodgepodge remake that really doesn’t bring anything new to the table from what’s come before. Personally, I knew this movie was not gonna be great movie and seeing it just proved my point. It’s a passible feature (the film’s overall execution is okay), but (again) just completely unwanted. Thus, my recommendation for this movie is a hard “skip it” as just simply watching the original 1987 film will suffice (and you’ll probably get more out of it). In the end, Overboard is just another unwanted remake from Hollywood, a forgetful footnote in the industries assemble line of recycle, realtering, and revamping old movies ideas into newer ones.
2.4 Out of 5 (Skip It)
Released On: May 4th, 2018
Reviewed On: May 7th, 2018
Overboard is 112 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for suggestive material, partial nudity, and some language