Review – Comedy remake ‘Overboard’ almost sails by on Anna Faris’s charm

Poster for 2018 comedy remake Overboard

Genre: Comedy
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 22nd June 2018
Runtime: 112 minutes
Director: Rob Greenberg
Writer: Rob Greenberg, Bob Fisher, Leslie Dixon
Starring: Anna Faris, Eugenio Derbez, Eva Longoria, Mel Rodriguez, Cecilia Suárez, John Hannah, Swoosie Kurtz, Mariana Treviño
Synopsis: An arrogant businessman gets a slice of how the other half lives when he suffers amnesia and a cleaner convinces him that she is his wife.

 

 

Is a problematic movie less problematic if you change literally nothing except the genders of the central characters? Overboard gives it a try, flipping the dynamic of the 1987 Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn movie in an attempt to make the gaslighting premise slightly less horrifying. It’s not a film anyone has been hoping to see remade but, nonetheless, here it is and it comes with the boundless energy of Anna Faris in the lead role. Unsurprisingly, it barely raises even half a giggle during its running time but, surprisingly, it almost manages to pull off warmth and charm.

Much of that is entirely down to Faris as Kate, who is a nursing student and single mother getting by as a result of working as a pizza delivery driver and a cleaner, while somehow trying to study for her exams. She is tasked with cleaning a yacht owned by playboy Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez), who is set to inherit his father’s business empire. Leonardo disrespects her and refuses to pay before, later that evening, he tumbles from the boat and wakes up on the beach with no memory of who he is. On the advice of her best friend Theresa (Eva Longoria), Kate pretends to be Leonardo’s wife and soon puts him to work running the household and carrying out a back-breaking manual job.

There’s no comic invention at play in the new Overboard, which is helmed by How I Met Your Mother director Rob Greenberg. It’s something of a barren wasteland from a joke perspective and the fish out of water comedy set-ups never yield the gold that the movie seems to demand of them. Without laughter, that leaves the problematic storytelling – in which gaslighting is described as a “privilege” – to take centre stage. As anyone with a brain could’ve predicted, it’s still exceedingly problematic with the genders reversed.

Thankfully, though, Faris is as bright and effervescent as ever in the leading role, bringing real charm and believability to the role of a put-upon mother trying to pull off a ridiculous domestic balancing act. Derbez, too, is trying very hard and is every bit as loveable in his role as a father and breadwinner as he is loathsome when he’s a champagne-swilling jacuzzi dweller. There’s a reasonable spark between the two of them and it’s tough not to be swept up a little in their budding romance, which is nicely played by the two actors.

Overboard is a fairly nice movie, hamstrung by a story that is precisely the opposite of nice. Its only moments of real humour come when it’s referencing the past, whether it’s reporting a shark attack to a cop named Brody or making reference to “a pretty young woman back in the 80s” who suffered from an eerily similar bout of amnesia. It’s an idea that has been chewed up and spit out by the Hollywood remake machine and it’s not one that anyone is going to see, and those that do see it almost certainly won’t have a great time.

 

Pop or Poop?

Rating: Poop!

Anna Faris and Eugenio Derbez try their best to make lemonade with the huge pile of lemons they have been handed in Overboard, which is a problematic remake of a problematic 80s film. There’s charm and life to their performances, but there is barely a flicker of actual comedy – and that’s tough to get past in a movie that spends so much time trying to make people laugh.

 

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