Anna Faris and Eugenio Derbez anchor this middling gender-swapped remake of the 1987 Kurt Russell-Goldie Hawn film of the same name. By sticking too close to the themes and plot elements of the original film, 2018’s Overboard does very little to capitalize on the its adaptable premise, bankable cast, and modern setting.
Overboard centers around Kate Sullivan (Faris), a single mom of three who works multiple jobs to support them. While cleaning the carpets on a massive yacht, Kate is snubbed by an arrogant playboy named Leo (Derbez) who berates her and then pushes her into the water. Days later, Leo washes ashore after drunkenly falling off his yacht. At the police station, it becomes clear that he has amnesia, not remembering anything about his life. Kate takes advantage of the situation by convincing him that she is actually his husband and scams him into working in order to support her family. Of course, what starts as a scam develops into real love as Kate begins to fall for the man she is conning.
Probably the biggest struggle for this film is keeping the audience engaged during the first half. At 112 minutes, Overboard is at least thirty minutes too long, with a lot of that dead weight falling in the first half of the film. During the first hour or so, it feels like the characters are just dragging their feet, waiting for the plot to continue so they can actually get to the heart of the story. And while they’re dragging their feet, they’re quipping… and it’s almost painful to watch. At a certain point, Overboard starts to feel like straight melodrama rather than a comedy because only 5% of the jokes actually land. Obviously the film draws on Spanish soap opera tropes as a running influence, and those moments are some of the funniest and most genuine in the whole film, but Overboard’s dip into the pool of melodrama is not always intentional.
Despite its general banality, Overboard does have its moments. The last twenty minutes of the film are pretty cute and the unapologetic inclusion of bilingualism is refreshing. However, when weighed against the negatives, the good moments don’t amount to much. At its best, Overboard is an average film. At its worst… well, it’s worse. ★★½