Pros:Hawn and Russell, script, music
Cons:Might not be for very young children
The Bottom Line: A wonderful romantic comedy, Hawn and Russell are a great on-screen combination.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
Overboard is a golden oldie with a not so olden Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell teaming up for a very funny romantic comedy. Its sweet (albeit with rather a cruel streak!), has engaging performances by long-time partners Hawn and Rusell, and even manages to throw in a worthwhile observation about class distinctions.
Joanna Stayton (Hawn) has been raised by mother Edith Mintz (Katherine Helmond) to be the ultimate socialite prima donna. Unfortunately her mother has managed to do a very good job of this, and Joanna becomes even worse as the bored, spoilt wife of a bored, pretentious yacht owner. (Her attitude to life could be summed up in this quote: Caviar should be round, and hard, and of adequate size, and should burst in your mouth at *precisely* the right moment.. Into her life rolls Dean Proffit (Russell), a rough and tumble, down on his luck carpenter who comes to do some emergency shoe rack rebuilding on the yacht. Forming an instant mutual hatred, the two become even firmer enemies when the nothing is ever good enough for me Joanna refuses to pay him. In short, Joanna is a woman with a desirable body and a very unesirable personality.
Later Joanna falls overboard (thus the title) and is struck with amnesia. When her own husband views this as a good opportunity to make a break fro freedom, Proffitt senses the opportunity for revenge a nasty, slow torture revenge involving looking after his four children. After a while Joanna begins to understand who she was (according to Proffitt): I'm a short, fat slut. . But, of course, after a time the two start to become strangely attracted to one another, not to mention the kids get quite attached to her
Well, 95% of the plot could be predicted after the first 10 minutes, but romantic comedies were never strong on surprise factor. What makes this such a joy to watch is the inventive script, the obvious chemistry between the two leads, a fun musical score, and a lot of laughs. Roddy McDowell plays the part of Andrew, the long suffering servant who has a lot more savvy than anyone thought, and also executively produced this movie. The four child actors are good, one of them is quite annoying as he always speaks in a Pee-Wee Herman voice, but later in the film this is almost atoned for by some ship-board humour. Theres also a great performance by Henry Alex Miller, who didnt go on to pursue a career in acting, as Dr Norman Korman. Typical of his unorthodox approach to upper class psychotherapy is the following scene, where much to the shock of her mother and husband, a changed Joanna gets up and offers the tray round to them:
Dr Korman: Joanna, what motivated you to rise and get the serving tray?
Annie: I thought you might be hungry.
Dr Korman: That's excellent, excellent!
Grant Stayton: What's excellent about it?
Dr Korman: I was hungry.
Her social skills dont improve completely however, as necessity dictates:
Joanna: Captain Karl?
Capt. Karl: Yes madam?
Joanna: We've never really had time to talk.
Capt. Karl: No, we haven't.
Joanna: Well, there's no time now.
Overall, Overboard is sweet, funny, and extremely enjoyable. Its rated PG for some language and occasional adult material, nothing terrible but parents of very young children might want to watch it before making a decision on whether they want to let their children see it. Apart from that slight proviso, thoroughly recommended.
See also: My Top Ten Romantic Comedies (updated yet again after seeing this!)
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Video Occasion: Good Date Movie