Directed by Rob Greenberg.
Starring Eugenio Derbez, Anna Faris, Eva Longoria, John Hannah, Swoosie Kurtz, Mariana Treviño, Cecilia Suárez, Omar Chaparro, and Jesús Ochoa.
A single, working-class mother is hired to clean the luxury yacht belonging to a spoilt, selfish, wealthy playboy. After she is unjustly fired, the selfish playboy accidentally falls off the boat and wakes up not remembering who he is. As payback, she convinces him that they’re married.
Kate (Anna Faris) is the aforementioned single mother who is struggling raise her three daughters, holding down two jobs – one as a cleaner, and the other as a pizza delivery driver – whilst simultaneously trying to study for her nursing exams. The spoilt playboy Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez) hears all this, but he fires her regardless. Kate’s plan is more than revenge – though she doesn’t hide her schadenfreude – it’s also to make Leonardo pick up all the extraneous chores and hold down a job so she can focus on her studies.
This remake of the 1987 film that no-one asked for modernises the source material (working-class people must now have two jobs to survive!) and flips the gender roles. However, these are not enough to save this film.
Director Rob Greenberg’s prior work is largely in TV sitcoms, having directed episodes for such shows as How I Met Your Mother and My Boys. This background helps to explain the film’s flat aesthetics and usage of tired comedic tropes and pratfalls. Overboard doesn’t feel cinematic as the cinematography prevents the visuals from leaping off the screen.
Visuals aside, the performances, the plot, and the dialogue all have a sitcom feel to them, or, to put it more aptly, a made-for-TV aesthetic. With a setup this contrived, viewers are left with looking at the composition of the screen, and further attention to the chemistry, to the gags, and to the setup.
Speaking of which, all three of the above-mentioned elements seem to fail. There is no chemistry between the two leads. Leonardo is a two-dimensional playboy villain, and Kate is the atypical selfless struggling mother who becomes selfish for the first time in her life – though Faris portrays this transition as incidental rather than life-altering. Seeing these two caricatures play off each other, which is to supposedly blossom into a heartwarming, morally uplifting romance, is awkward and more contrived that the plot.
Comedy, as we all know, is subjective. However, when you’re watching a film that has so many gags, all with long enough pauses for the audience to laugh, and there is no laughter, then something is wrong. The safe and stale gags are better suited for Greenberg’s run-of-the-mill studio sitcom. As the chemistry between the two characters remains sparkless, and the deafening silence of jokes not working, you’re left with thinking about the plot.
The contrived plot, when audiences begin to think about it, is creepy and implausible. Kate brings Leonardo home to meet her three daughters, who are also in on the lie, and convinces him that he sleeps in the shed, works in construction, does all the cooking, all the shopping etc., and not once does Kate, or anyone in her life, let on that it’s all a lie. Even the guys at the construction site, who don’t know the real Leonardo, mock his soft, pristine hands, questioning his labouring past. Surely questions are raised here, no?
Overboard is an unfunny remake that no-one asked for, and something we must all live with.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★