Combustible Celluloid
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With: Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Edward Herrmann, Katherine Helmond, Roddy McDowall, Michael G. Hagerty, Brian Price, Jared Rushton, Jamie Wild, Jeffrey Wiseman, Henry Alan Miller, Hector Elizondo, Sven-Ole Thorsen, Garry Marshall
Written by: Leslie Dixon
Directed by: Garry Marshall
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 106
Date: 12/16/1987

Overboard (1987)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Making a Splash

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn) is a bored, nasty socialite who orders a new closet for her yacht. The brusque, yet charming handyman Dean Proffitt (Kurt Russell) turns up for the job, but of course, his finished product is not up to her exacting specifications, and he's fired without pay. Later, she falls overboard and loses her memory. Seeing a chance for revenge, Dean shows up at the hospital and claims her as his wife, "Annie." He brings her to his distinctly lower-class hovel, and makes her clean, cook, and care for his four boys (he's a widower). Eventually, they begin to fall in love for real, but what happens when the other shoe drops and "Annie" realizes what's really going on?

Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Valentine's Day) directs this romantic comedy in the vein of the screwball classics of the 1930s and 1940s, but he lacks a certain sharpness that could have kept the material in check; it wanders out of control. Hawn is very funny as the spoiled, horrible socialite, but after that first section, she has much less to do. It's uncomfortable watching as her character moans and whines about her chores, and then sadly begins to accept her lot.

Russell is a charming comic actor, and he and Hawn share a nice onscreen chemistry (they were a real-life couple for decades), but his character is painted as slightly vindictive and careless; he doesn't seem to care if his kids act like hooligans. What's more, the four kids have very little to do with this equation, other than to assemble for a few obligatory "cute" scenes. Happily, the great Roddy McDowall appears in a few nice scenes as Hawn's long-suffering butler.

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