Anna Faris can't rescue lazy 'Overboard' remake
Garry Marshall's 1987 comedy "Overboard" might not have gotten the best reviews when it came out, but it was a viewing staple in my childhood home.
Whether it was because of cable repeats, the irresistible charms of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, the (endearingly) absurd premise, or some combination of all of it, it's one that we held in high regard.
It was a daunting prospect when a remake was announced, but I was cautiously optimistic. Anna Faris is a gifted comedian, and the gender-flipping seemed as viable an excuse as any to dust off the story of an amnesia-stricken billionaire who gets a karmic taste of working-class life. Plus, they'd decided to diversify, casting Eugenio Derbez, a star in Latin America, as the wealthy jerk.
Sadly, and perhaps inevitably, the 2018 "Overboard" pales in comparison. Not only do its two stars have zero chemistry with each other, but the story goes out of its way to over-explain and over-justify the preposterous premise, adding needless complications and motivations to make everyone more likable. The result is very much the opposite: A sterilized sitcom full of forgettable characters.
Directed and co-written by Bob Fisher and Rob Greenberg, this "Overboard" has Kate (Anna Faris) as an overworked mother of three, juggling multiple jobs cleaning carpets and delivering pizzas while trying to study to become a nurse. She's harried, I guess, because the movie tells us she is. But she and her three blonde daughters are all fairly put-together. Their house is a little messy and needs repairs, but overall they seem to be doing OK, especially when compared with their scraggly '87 counterparts.
Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez) is a spoiled man-boy who hangs around his yacht with models and zero cares. He's demanding, but not remotely as cold and haughty as Hawn was. Even his spat with Kate -- the instigating incident that justifies her essentially taking him hostage -- is questionably tame. It has something to do with him asking her to get him some mango, but like most things in this movie, is at best unmemorable.
The remake even takes Kate's agency away from her in hatching the plot to take advantage of the amnesiac jerk who threw her off his yacht without payment and gives that to her friend, Theresa (Eva Longoria). Kate just sort of unwittingly goes along, not really even to get revenge, but just as a stopgap to get someone else who can bring in a paycheck and ease the workload.
The '87 "Overboard" is no great pillar of cinema, but it treated Hawn's character with a shred of dignity. This just uses Derbez as a slapstick prop. So it's confusing then when the movie asks us to suddenly care about Leonardo and Kate.
With so many reboots and remakes out there, it's hardly productive to question why something got made anymore. Suffice it to say, you'd be safer to leave this one floating without a life jacket and just renting the '87 one again.
Starring: Anna Faris, Eugenio Derbez, Eva Longoria, John Hannah, Swoosie Kurtz
Directed by: Bob Fisher and Rob Greenberg
Other: A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Pantelion Films and Lionsgate release. Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, partial nudity and language. 110 minutes