Blu-Ray Review: Overboard

While definitely flawed, there is nothing inherently good or bad about Overboard, Garry Marshall’s 1987 romantic comedy starring real-life couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel. It’s a perfectly acceptable, middle-of-the-road, time-waster of a film. And that’s not an insult. This self-described “riches-to-rags romance” tells the slightly convoluted story of wealthy socialite Joanna Stayton, who gets amnesia from falling off of her yacht. This is after she refuses to pay Dean Proffitt, a carpenter who didn’t fix her closet to her liking. Of course, in typical Hollywood fashion, he decides to enact revenge by convincing her that she is his wife and mother to four obnoxious children. Needless to say, wackiness ensues and lessons are learned.

I suppose it’s easy enough to suspend disbelief and just go with this. The problem is that there is no rooting interest. Before her amnesia, Stayton was a horrible shrew of a character; a cliched Real Housewife before the Real Housewives existed. And while Proffitt is supposed to be the everyman we identify with, I found it very difficult to sympathize with a man who would A) pull such a horrible trick, and B) raise four children with such disregard for their well-being.

However, the movie is moderately amusing, and I suppose that’s all that should really count in a film like this. Russell and Hawn seem to have a lot of fun playing these characters, and that translates into an entertaining enough diversion. There is something satisfying about seeing this woman put in her place, and as the sitcom hijinks give way to attempted pathos, I found myself going along for the ride. This is a film that follows the exact trajectory you’d expect, and while there are absolutely no surprises, I still enjoyed the journey. When I say the film is predictable, I’m not even talking just about the story outline, but rather specific plot points. This is the type of film where the screenplay randomly sets up little clues that are going to have an obvious payoff, and if you aren’t able to piece together the entire film based on these clues, then you just aren’t paying attention.

MGM has recently issued a Blu-Ray release for this film, although I’m not entirely sure there was a high demand for it. Honestly, it’s not going to take me long to completely forget this film exists. Considering it’s been about 24 years since the film’s release, I can’t imagine that there are people overly excited to be able to add this film to their collection. However, if you are one of those people, I hate to tell you, but this is a pretty bare-bones release.

The only extra is the trailer, and the picture quality/sound are about on par with VHS. I was really surprised at the lack of care the film was given for this release. There is a certain expectation when it comes to Blu-Ray, and while they don’t have to all be filled with extras, the picture and sound should at least be worthy of the release. Having said that, maybe the film holds some sort of nostalgic appeal for some of you, and if that’s the case, then enjoy. Otherwise, there’s not much too recommend here.

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