I have not had the luck of watching the 1987 version of Overboard starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. I can, however, give a calculated guess that it was probably as cheesy as this version was. But you see, cheese isn’t always bad, it can be fairly entertaining. Only fairly.
This version centres on a gender role reversal, which lets Anna Faris be the nurse-turned-pizza delivery-woman-turned-mom, who cons wealthy bastard Leo into becoming her slave while she preps for exams. I enjoyed this subversion of traditional gender roles.
The story follows Kate (Faris), a single working-class mother of three who’s hired to clean a luxury yacht that belongs to Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez), a selfish, spoiled and wealthy Mexican playboy.
After unjustly firing Kate, Leonardo falls off the boat and wakes up with no memory of who he is. To get payback, Kate shows up at the hospital and convinces the confused amnesiac that they’re married.
As Leonardo tries to get used to manual labour and his new family, Kate starts to wonder how long she can keep fooling her fake husband.
The film has an interesting focus on Latin Americans and exploring their lives. It runs concurrently to the storyline of a Telemundo telenovela and ends up mimicking the sometimes outrageous storylines those shows provide –something that one of the characters mentions too: something along the lines of “real life is better than television”. This was fun to observe.
Derbez seemed odd, as in out of place, which I suppose works out with the whole “he doesn’t remember who he is vibe”. But the chemistry between he and Faris was lacking. I also don’t think he’s the guy I would have picked to play a rich, smouldering playboy.
Hilarous avenue of existential angst
The film also tries too hard to be funny. From Kate’s mother, who abandons her daughter to go become a geriatric theatre star, to his severely untalented and uptight sisters trying desperately to gain the affection and trust of their old-fashioned patriarchal father (who is rich, and rude), it’s all a bit much and sadly doesn’t feel natural at times.
There are a couple of laughs though, and I loved seeing Eva Longoria in a relaxed, plain Jane role.
It’s an okay film for a Saturday afternoon when you have absolutely nothing else to do.
* Overboard is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.
By Masego Panyane