The new Overboard remake brings a bilingual spin to the 1987 original, but can the film overcome the absurdity of its original premise?
Remakes can be a tough sell for audiences, especially if the originals are beloved. The original 1987Overboard had its fans, but the film itself did not age well at all. Watching a woman with amnesia get kidnapped and forced into a false marriage, then put through the wringer by a man does not work as well during the #MeToo era. The latest version does not have the support of such familiar faces like Kurt Russell or Goldie Hawn. However, Anna Farris and Eugenio Derbez bring a welcoming modern spin on the original film, which somehow ends up working better than it should.
The film has the same far-fetched premise as the original, only backwards. This time, the man is the one who suffers amnesia, and the woman takes advantage of the situation. In the film, Anna Farris plays Kate, who is a pizza delivery woman who is also trying to study to be a nurse. She also works a second job cleaning carpets to make ends meet for her kids.
In this movie, Eugenio Derbez plays the Goldie Hawn role–now known as Leo– the spoiled narcissistic jerk. She ends up taking a job to clean the carpet on his boat, and just like in the original, he is insanely rude. After exchanging insults, he pushes her off his yacht and into the water, along with all her cleaning supplies–which end up costing her three thousand dollars, that the company is forcing her to pay out of her own pocket.
Shortly after, karma swings full-circle and Leo himself has an accident which causes him amnesia. Kate’s friend Theresa (played by Eva Longoria) schemes the plan we know so well from the original, by persuading Kate to pretend that Leo is her husband. Most readers know how the rest of this plays out.
A lot of fans of the old film might take issue with this movie because it does not possess the same charming star power. That said, Derbez is a pleasant surprise as the man being taken advantage of. The filmmakers could have chosen someone safer such as Chris Evans or even Zac Efron, but Derbez is a very unconventional leading man that holds his own on-screen. Plus, his entire character arc brings a refreshing cross-cultural spin on what could have been another paint-by-numbers romantic comedy remake.
Just like the original, this is a premise that’s obviously implausible. Nothing in this story would ever happen without major consequences being involved. The idea that Anna Farris’s character just mysteriously got herself a husband and no one else outside of her circle is suspicious is entirely unbelievable. In addition, once he gets his memory back, there’s no way she doesn’t end up in jail. Despite all this, the writing is mostly successful in overcoming these battles. Most of it works because of the chemistry between Farris and Derbez who do the best job they possibly can to sell the material.
The most interesting aspect of all about the Overboard remake is that it feels like one-half of a Spanish language feature film. Almost half of this movie is in Spanish dialect, which may be a pleasant surprise for different audiences. Plus, it gives a bilingual selection in the cineplex this weekend, which is very rare. One would think this would be more of a growing trend with the Hispanic population expanding to almost 60 million in the U.S.
Overall, I really was not expecting to like the remake of Overboard, but it somehow won me over. Most of the devoted fans of the original will most likely hate the remake, but if you walk in with no expectations, this film might surprise you. The story itself is just as implausible as the first, so be sure and turn your brain off. With all this in mind, if you are looking for a decent romantic comedy with a bilingual touch, this remake is not too shabby. It’s not trying to be as clever as When Harry Met Sally or as touching as The Big Sick. It’s just a big dumb goofy romantic comedy, and sometimes that’s okay.
Overboard is in theaters everywhere.