Beneath its crass surface, Garry Marshall's Overboard secretly wants to be an old-fashioned screwball comedy or, perhaps, The African Queen in a style caricatured for 1980s tastes. Marshall's sunny, sitcomedic comedies tend to be kinda bad but also compulsively watchable, and this one's no exception, with Goldie Hawn as a snooty socialite brought down to earth by Kurt Russell's salt-of-the-earth construction worker.
Hawn plays heiress Joanna Stayton, who effectively lives on a yacht with her disaffected huband Grant Stayton III (Edward Herrmann). Idle-rich and insensitive, the Staytons horribly mistreat Russell's Dean Proffitt despite his inventive redesigning and rebuilding Joanna's shipboard closet during an unscheduled stopover in Elk Cove, Oregon. When he's unceremonously tossed overboard (without pay, no less), he vows revenge, and he quickly gets his chance when Joanna falls overboard herself. Struck with amnesia, Joanna is prone to Proffitt's prevarication that she's his beloved wife "Annie." Dean brings her home and puts her to work cleaning, cooking, and caring for his four motherless lost boys (Brian Price, Jamie Wild, Jeffrey Wiseman, and Jared Rushton of Big).
Bridging the sixties super-brood comedies with their '90s remakes, Overboard is a comedy driven by domestic chaos, from problem children to unmanageable chores. Within these parameters, it's amusing enough, with some light character comedy as the totally clueless Joanna gets an education in hard work and emotional engagement. But Overboard can't entirely escape its creepy implications, given that Dean kidnaps Annie, lies to her, forces her to do a month of unpaid work (in repayment for his two days of work), toys with her emotions, and ultimately (spoiler alert) has sex with her under false pretenses. He feels bad about it and all, and sure, he's fallen in love with her, but, y'know, tell it to de judge. Get past this and you get the usual smooth distraction of a Garry Marshall picture, with the requisite Hector Elizondo cameo, mainstream music (Alan Silvestri scores, and singer-songwriter Randy Newman contributes the lousy soundtrack fodder "Something Special"), and pro supporting turns, here from Herrmann, Katherine Helmond, and Roddy McDowall (also an executive producer). Love may be a lifesaver, but Overboard comes closer to being all wet.
MGM gives Overboard its Blu-ray debut in a bare-bones budget release. Though Overboard certainly hasn't been subjected to Digital Noise Reduction, perhaps it should've been, given the noisily thick grain on display here. Perhaps Overboard can't look any better: at least the source is fairly clean, but this transfer is decidely mediocre in all categories, with dishwater-dull color and an all-pervasive softness in detail and contrast. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix may not be anything to write home about, but it maximizes the source elements for this talky comedy, delivering clear dialogue and reasonably emphatic music cues.
The sole extra is the "Theatrical Trailer" (1:55, HD).
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