'Overboard' Review: Rom-Com Remake Reverses Roles, Still Sinks Like a Stone

‘Overboard’ pairs Anna Faris with Mexican movie star Eugenio Derbez for role-reversal rom-com remake – but it still sinks like a stone. Our review. Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

What we have here is a Latin-infused remake of the 1987 romcom that starred Goldie Hawn as a bitchy heiress who take a spill off her yacht, suffers amnesia and falls for a poor carpenter (Kurt Russell) and his three kids. Who better than Anna Faris to take on the Hawn role for an update, right? Except, you see, she doesn't. This time, The House Bunny star is the one playing the carpenter – or in this case, a nurse in training. 

And the snotty rich bastard? That role goes to Eugenio Derbez, Mexico's biggest star, who's allowed to speak a big chunk of his dialogue in Spanish, complete with subtitles. It's the one original idea that this retrofitted Overboard has to offer. The rest of the movie wears out its welcome muy rapido. 

First of all, Faris and Derbez have zilch romantic chemistry. Hawn and Russell fell in love filming the first Overboard, and they’ve been together ever since. Plus, their onscreen sparring radiated a sweet, sexy spark that has made the romantic comedy a DVD/streaming perennial over three decades. How can Faris and Derbez compete with that? They can't. And in this remake, they're barely trying at all. 

Faris, so good with Allison Janney on the TV show Mom, stars well as Kate, a hard-working divorced mom of three girls. She cleans carpets to support her family and pay tuition for her nursing training. While doing a job on the yacht of Leonardo Montenegro (Derbez) – whose daddy is the third richest man in the world – she reacts badly to the elitist bullying of a playboy she rightly calls a "condescending prick." When said prick falls off his boat and then can't remember who he is, Kate plots her revenge. She'll trick "Leo" into thinking he's her husband. Then she'll get him a back-breaking job in construction, where he's mocked for his "lady hands," force him to babysit for her kids while she studies and ultimately tell Mr. Sex-Crazed that he's sleeping in the garage (no sex for you, sir) until he gets clean and sober.

And so the laughs come tumbling down … or so you'd hope. Even by the standards of disbelief-suspending comedy, the remake's plot is damn near impossible to swallow, especially when there's such an abundant lack of chemistry. Or, worse, when Leo turns good guy and starts to enjoy being a poor workslave and also, like, everybody loves him! WTF! Director Rob Greenberg, working from a script that he and Bob Fisher adapted from Leslie Dixon's original story, lacks the sense of pacing and edgy mischief that the late director Garry Marshall demonstrated the first time around. And Derbez, who scored a modest hit last year with the critically-reviled How To Be a Latin Lover, lacks the ability to go for the jugular that his role needs. He's too busy being charming to be a smartass. Faris could have handled the wisecracks fine, but the script gives her male costar all the good lines, leaving the movie's real MVP on the sidelines. Big mistake. 

We know, we know: criticizing Overboard 2.0 is like firing on a marshmallow with an machine gun. But we doubt audiences with be getting together three decades from now to remember how much we adored this lukewarm rehash. Goldie and Kurt forever. No substitutes accepted.

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