An heiress in port wants her closet redone;
Her vain husband Grant’s too engrossed with his gun.
Joanna thus calls a coarse carpenter in,
But all her complaining gets under Dean’s skin.
He fails to please her and gets thrown overboard;
She leaves him unpaid in the water and floored.
Not long after that, she falls over as well,
And when she is rescued, her name she can’t tell.
Her sudden amnesia lets Grant leave her there
To go have some fun with some women elsewhere,
But sneaky Dean Proffitt has vengeance in mind
And claims she’s his Annie to get her consigned.
He takes her back home with four wild kids in it;
He treats her like dirt and enjoys every minute.
Poor “Annie” is stuck with each burden and chore,
Like cooking and things she has not done before.
Although overwhelmed by her ignoble life,
She does her best being a mother and wife.
As Annie improves things and starts to belong,
Dean’s lie of revenge starts to feel rather wrong.
He tries to admit all his wanton deceit,
But Annie’s adoption by then is complete.
Yet when cheating Grant rears his rich head to claim her,
Her recall returns, and she’s mad. Who can blame her?
She leaves her new home to be wealthy once more,
But misses the beer and the children, all four.
Deciding to leave Grant, she turns the boat round
And meets up with Dean, who was toward her yacht bound.
The two of them jump and embrace in the water,
And all Annie wants now is Dean—and a daughter.

Directed by Garry Marshall and produced by Roddy McDowall (who also plays a butler), Overboard received mixed reviews when it was first released in 1987, but it has proven to be immensely watchable. It’s a film that skillfully shifts the audience’s sympathies. At first, we hate Joanna and sympathize with Dean; then, as Joanna’s punishment goes on, we start to dislike Dean and feel sorry for “Annie”; and by the finale, we somehow end up liking them both because they were meant for each other.

The main appeal of the film is not only the memorable performances by Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn but the satisfaction it provides the viewer. Despite the cruelty involved, it’s satisfying to see a woman so pompous and vapid brought down a peg to see that the earth doesn’t revolve around her. It’s satisfying to watch said woman improve a chaotic, cluttered family and singlehandedly make their “hovel” a home. It’s satisfying to see unabashed romance reign supreme at sea.

Goldie Hawn gets to play two very different roles in one, both as her vain heiress persona and the more down-to-earth woman she becomes once she, like a certain Emperor, finds a new groove. Kurt Russell may not be the ideal Prince Charming, but once Dean has come to his senses by the end, it’s obvious why Annie chose him, especially compared to narcissistic Grant, played by a hilarious Edward Herrmann. Much of the humor stems from the bizarre past life that Dean invents for his so-called “wife” and the fish-out-of-water scenes in which Annie tries to cope with her new environment. The film also has a great soundtrack and some very funny lines, such as when Annie first hears one kid speak like Pee-wee Herman and questions “A falsetto child?” The end especially is a classic among romantic comedies and caps off the film perfectly. Despite some rear nudity and some profanity and crass dialogue, including from the kids unfortunately, Overboard is still thoroughly amusing entertainment.

Best line: (Grant, thinking Joanna is insane when he is) “Do we have a straitjacket on board?   (Dr. Korman, a psychologist on the yacht) “I always carry one, yes.  [a little later]  You’re overwrought, Grant. I want you to take a Valium. Here, take one of mine.”

Artistry: 7
Characters/Actors: 9
Entertainment: 10
Visual Effects: N/A
Originality: 9
Watchability: 10
Other (overall satisfaction): +4
Other (language, etc.): -2
TOTAL: 47 out of 60

Next: #148 – Kramer vs. Kramer

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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