Remake of ‘Overboard’ a Fun & Unexpected Treat

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CHICAGO – When the movie remake of the 1987 charmer “Overboard” was announced last year, immediately my thought was “it will stink.” But the creators of this remake didn’t listen, and produced a charmer of their own, twisting the premise and adding the hope of America. If that ain’t heart, I don’t know what is.

The roles are switched in this “Overboard.” Instead of a rich woman washing up to shore after falling off her yacht, it’s a rich Mexican dude that does so, and it falls on a working class single Mom – deftly portrayed by Anna Faris – to convince him that he is her husband (a little more difficult in the age of Google, but nonetheless). By mixing the American melting pot of Mexican-Americans and Anna Faris, the film takes on another level, and creates its laughs through that level. It doesn’t shirk the original story either, and interprets it through the comic craftsmanship of Eugenio Derbez, generating a whole new take on the premise. THIS is how you produce a remake.

Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez) has the perfect life. He is the playboy son of the third richest man in the world, a Mexican mogul in building supplies. His life consists of navigating his yacht around the world, picking lovely ladies along the way. His revelry is shaken when the boat has to dock in a town in Oregon, and a carpet cleaner named Kate (Anna Faris) confronts him on his casual arrogance. He solves that confrontation by pushing her and the expensive cleaning equipment into the sea.

‘I’m Poor?’ ‘Yep’: Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez) and Kate (Anna Faris) in ‘Overboard.’
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Kate vows revenge, and it falls into her lap from the deck of the yacht. Leonardo falls overboard, and washes up on shore, not remembering who he is. Kate’s best friend Theresa (Eva Longoria) comes up with a plan… claim Leonardo is Kate’s husband, and that will give the harried single mom more time to study for her nurse’s exam. What they don’t know is Leonardo’s conniving sister (Cecilia Suárez) has faked her brother’s death, in order to take over their father’s corporation. Leonardo is stuck in his new life, and he’ll have to make the best of it.

The basis for the plot is almost genius… put the story of “Overboard” through the extreme parameters of a Mexican Telenovela (soap opera). The aging rich patriarch, the conniving sister, the guys on his construction crew willing to go along with the gag – it all mines a rich vein of comic potential. The movie also, like the original, has a nice balance of heart, as Derbez evolves into his role as father to Kate’s three daughters, and the kid actors don’t overplay their characters.

Credit where credit is due, and Leslie Dixon is listed as the creator of the story, while Rob Greenberg (also the director) and Bob Fisher wrote the screenplay. They took the angle of America as a melting pot, with gags and heart associated with the Scottish butler, the Norwegian yacht crew, the Mexican-American construction gang and the characters back in Mexico, who use the extreme story emotions of a soap opera to motivate their actions… it’s all very funny. It’s also a screenplay that pays homage to the original film in two key scenes, and is willing to write jokes that had nothing to do with the story, including one that was so silly it had to be delivered.

Kate and Theresa (Eva Longoria) Hatch a Plan in ‘Overboard.’
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Eugenio Derbez (click here for the interview) has crossed over from his Mexican producer/director/comic actor roots to break through in his first big American film role, and absolutely kills it. He is tasked to do virtually everything… be a stud, do pratfalls, sensitively talk to children, be in an AA meeting and develop through the complexity of not knowing who he is (which are some of the funnier asides). He is doing his “star is born” moment, and he nailed it. How does one best Goldie Hawn from the original film? By not being Goldie Hawn.

With all this immigrant-in-America vibe, this won’t be on our Dear Leader’s list of films, but what is? Endless viewings of “Ghosts Don’t Do It,” “Home Alone 2” and “The Little Rascals” remake (with DT as “Waldo’s Dad”). Oh, for a large Trumpian yacht, and a slippery deck, for the final chapter of “Overboard.”

“Overboard” opens everywhere on May 4th. Featuring Eugenio Derbez, Anna Faris, Eva Longoria, Swoosie Kurtz, Mel Rodriguez, John Hannah and Cecilia Suárez. Screenplay by Rob Greenberg and Bob Fisher. Directed by Rob Greenberg. Rated “PG-13” senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2018 Patrick McDonald,

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