Remember when Goldie Hawn was America’s funny, fresh-faced sweetheart, Kurt Russell was our favorite rugged ex-Disney kid actor with a heart of gold, and together they were the most adorable couple since, like, Barbie and Ken? If not, perhaps you’re too young to remember the 80’s comedy Overboard and all the fun shenanigans it offered up. I can’t promise you’ll be able to recapture how it felt to view the movie in 1987, but for the times it was a charming, enjoyable romp.
When we first meet Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn), she’s a spoiled rich girl who spends her days lounging on her yacht and making demands from “the help”. It’s easy to expect perfection from the comfort of your lounge chair, and all too often life fails to meet Joanna’s standards. Even an afternoon spent painting her nails can go awry when little gnats begin to lodge themselves in the wet polish.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the handiwork of small town carpenter Dean Proffitt (Kurt Russell) does not pass muster with Ms. Stayton. She refuses to pay him for his work, but the tables are turned when she falls (wait for it!) overboard and loses her memory. Seizing the moment, Dean decides to collect payment another way: he convinces Joanna that she’s actually his wife Annie and puts her to work minding the house and caring for his kids.
What follows is a sweet fish-out-of water comedy containing a handful of genuinely funny moments. Though some of the humor is itself a bit overboard, there’s something kind of touching about watching this self-centered, entitled woman discover her maternal instincts and find love in a salt of the earth family. The love/hate tension between Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn is well-played, and the movie remains a benign (if simple) classic.