A remake of a romantic comedy… somehow that sounds like a recipe for disaster. I mean, remakes seldom do well as is, but romantic comedies have a tendency to fail these days, so unless this movie is bringing something fresh and interesting to the table… ugh.
The story looks like it’s about a wealthy man who is extremely mean-spirited and rude toward a woman who is hired to clean for him. He suffers a head injury, causing amnesia, resulting in her lying that the two are married and tries to show him the life that she lives to teach him a lesson about having humility.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Anna Faris (THE EMOJI MOVIE , KEANU , and ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS 4 ) and Eugenio Derbez (GEOSTORM , MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN , and upcoming films THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS  and THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2 ).
In support, we have John Hannah (SCORCHED EARTH , THE MUMMY , and TV show SPARTACUS [2010 – 2013]) and Eva Longoria (LOWRIDERS , and upcoming films DOG DAYS  and ALL-STAR WEEKEND ).
Now for the crew. Co-directing and co-writing are Bob Fisher (WE’RE THE MILLERS  and WEDDING CRASHERS ) and Rob Greenberg (a ton of TV). Composing the score is Lyle Workman, known for BAD SANTA 2 (2016) and FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL (2008). The cinematographer is Michael Barrett, known for TED 2 (2015), and upcoming films GOTTI (2018) and NOMIS (2018). Finally, the editor is Lee Haxall, known for MIKE AND DAVE (2016) and SISTERS (2015).
Overall, I think this is going to suck. I want to like Faris, but with the exception of her cameo in KEANU, I’ve never seen a movie where she was funny. Sure, she’s got some major popularity in her TV work, but Faris in a good movie is really hard to come by. Same with Derbez, who is considered in Mexico to be the funniest man in his country, but I just haven’t seen that in his American films. I’m hoping for something that isn’t terrible, but… no, I think it will be.
This is my honest opinion of: OVERBOARD
Set in Oregon. Kate Sullivan (Anna Faris) is a struggling single mother of three daughters, working two jobs as a carpet cleaner and pizza delivery, while also studying to become a nurse. One day, as a carpet cleaner, she’s hired to clean the Birthday Present, a yacht belonging to a wealthy Mexican man named Leonardo Montenegro (Eugenio Derbez), a particularly entitled older man who is as childish as he is mean and insulting. After Kate refuses to get Leonardo a snack, he fires her and even throws her off his boat, causing her to get fired from her carpet cleaning job. But a golden opportunity to get a breath of air to focus on her studies presents itself when Leonardo falls overboard his yacht and suffers from amnesia. While Leo’s family is lead to believe he’s dead by his jealous sister Magda (Cecilia Suárez), Kate learns of Leo’s amnesia and fakes being his wife in order to get him to take care of chores around the house while she has time to study. Despite Leo’s annoyances at first, he soon begins to take to his new life of working hard and even starts to be popular with Kate’s daughters.
Alright… so I got my wish. I thought this movie was okay. It’s not good, but I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as the ratings have been making it out to be.
Don’t get me wrong, if people walked out during the first fifteen or twenty minutes, I wouldn’t have blamed them. It’s painfully unfunny and lacks any semblance of charm. Essentially, Leo is a man-child and Derbez probably plays into it a little too well. Leo’s more annoying that anything else and deserves a spanking more than lesson in common decency. I’m not sure how else an actor could have done it differently (I didn’t see the original, so I can’t compare Derbez to Goldie Hawn), but it wasn’t engaging. Also, it’s so poorly directed that it affects Faris’ performance as well. There’s a bit where Leo is wondering if he likes mango or papaya, spending a good minute on this nonsense by the way, but Kate isn’t sure if he’s talking to himself, or to her. Any normal person would just assume that he’s talking to himself and go on with their job. But no… she sort of just awkwardly stands there while he’s talking to himself. I think it’s supposed to be funny, but… it’s not and it doesn’t feel like Kate is reacting properly. I don’t know, maybe you could chock it up to over-politeness, but that’s a stretch to me, especially when it comes to customer service. At some point, you wash your hands of the situation.
I also want to go on record that I am not a neurological wiz. I have not once studied the brain in school… or if I did, I didn’t remember jack. But if I were to hazard a guess, if an asshole suffers from retrograde amnesia, something’s telling me that person wouldn’t retain their abhorrent behavior. But you know what? Every movie, TV show, and any medium that has amnesia as a big plot point will always mention the line, “the brain is a complex thing,” so what do I really know? In any case, he continues to be annoying as hell for quite a long time after he loses his memory. Really, he doesn’t stop being annoying until the second dinner scene where he makes spaghetti with “the better sauce,” where he adds onions and coriander, or whatever the hell it was. All he does is bitch and moan, complaining that he thinks his life isn’t what Kate’s been making it out to be, and it’s neither funny, nor clever, nor engaging.
You know, we never actually see him suffer any kind of injury. In fact, he seems to safely fall into the water from his yacht because we still hear him screaming for help. So his amnesia makes zero sense. And amnesia or not, not closing his robe after waking up on the beach is a fairly common social no-no and is an incredibly cheap gag. Even the score is awful. It sounds like a cheap Latin choir of strangled birds. Oh, and when people burn their hands on hot metal, there’s no delayed reaction. That shit’s instantaneous. If this were a cartoon, you could get away with that. Not in live-action! Even some subplots go nowhere. There’s a “blink and you’ll miss it moment” when Leo cooks that nice second dinner, and it almost looks like Kate’s getting jealous of Leo’s newfound popularity with the daughters. Never becomes a thing. Emily’s a painful trope of a teen girl who hates that she’s not popular and part of group texts with other kids in her grade. Oh my god, this little twat, she seriously needed to get over herself. Worse problems exist. And don’t get me started on that racially insensitive play at the end of the movie with Kate’s mom, Grace (Swoosie Kurtz). I wouldn’t even know where to begin to talk about that shit.
But before you die-hard haters of this movie start getting excited about me jumping on the hate-train, let me stop you right now and tell you that there are a few, even quite a few, things that I legitimately enjoyed.
One joke that I liked, which was featured in the trailer, is the bit where Jason (Josh Segarra) fakes not knowing English, convincing the rich dude he’s working for to talk to someone else, only to turn to Leo and say “I love doing that.” As someone who works in guest service, and wants a break from overly needy and difficult people, I wish I could do a stereotypical Hispanic accent and get out of helping them making them think that I don’t understand English. Just once, I wish I could get away with something like that. So I loved that joke. I also did enjoy the quick bit where Leo and Bobby (Mel Rodriguez) were getting mushy about a Mexican soap opera. I got a chuckle out of that one.
And I’m just going to say this now. The movie’s strength is never its comedy. No, screw that. With the exception of maybe one or two jokes, the comedy isn’t what prevents this from being a maelstrom of shit. It’s, staggeringly, the more dramatic and cutsie moments. Like when Leo brings ice cream to Kate when he gets home from work. I thought that was a sweet gesture. As much as I wasn’t really liking Emily as a character (though Hannah Nordberg is actually a fairly decent young actress), I did like the bit where after Kate is yelling at her for leaving her sisters with Leo, whom she still wasn’t trusting to watch them by himself, Leo does rush to Emily’s defense and makes Kate consider that she might have been a little too hard on her. Granted, it wasn’t funny when Leo was using a low voice in a desperate attempt for comedy during a fairly dramatic moment while saying “low blow,” but it was an otherwise competently acted scene. And I’d be lying if I wasn’t enjoying the fun energy during the “anniversary” scene where Kate and Leo were dancing and then he shares that romance story about a triple boat horn in a cute attempt to kiss Kate.
The movie is painfully predictable. Even if you’ve never seen the original, and I have no idea what this movie does differently, if you think a plot point is going to end where you think it’s going to end, it will. If you looked at Magda and thought that she wasn’t going to end up in control of her father’s company, yup, she loses it by the end of the flick. Is there a cliché moping and doping end of second act? Do they get back together at the end? Is the sky mother @#$%ing blue???
Oh, and Leo proposes to Kate, and she says yes, after really only knowing each other for a month? Okay, he may have amnesia and buying into a fake life that he never had, but no woman of sound mind should be that easy to get a ring around her finger. Just saying. Even the climactic cheese-fest of an ending couldn’t be played out safely. No, they had to ruin it by dedicating two @#$%ing minutes of him debating if he’s rather stay with Kate, or lose his entire inheritance. It’s arguably the most unlikable thing he does in the movie because you can argue that he hadn’t gone through that arc of learning the value of hard work and the true love of a family. In fact, this entire ending is kind of bullshit because Colin (John Hannah) visits the family at the end and basically gives them the means to live a life of luxury, completely subverting the whole message of the movie. I can’t recall an ending that had me foaming at the mouth like this one did.
And really, this movie had a golden opportunity to create some seriously effective drama during that moment when he regains his memories. I was on board when he got really excited and start rambling about the things he remembers, but as soon as he realizes that the life Kate had been fabricating this entire time was a lie, Leo keeps going. He doesn’t shut the hell up. Wouldn’t it have been dramatically more powerful if he hadn’t said a single word for the rest of the scene. A sudden rush of realization that the woman he’d been falling in love with was never his wife, the girls he’d been fathering were never his girls, the asshole he’s always been compared to the good man that he evolved into, he should have been running the gauntlet of anger, betrayal, sadness, disbelief, fear, and who knows what the hell else. And wouldn’t it have been more powerful if he ran away from all of it? Like, he didn’t choose to go with his real family at all, but ran away from both of them, not knowing how to handle his emotions? But no… instead, he’s annoying again, won’t stop talking, and just one big frustration.
The truth is, that scene wasn’t devoid of emotion. As in, I got emotional too. I didn’t get misty-eyed or anything, but I liked almost everything after Leo decides to go with his family. The look of fear in the girls’ eyes, the sadness of his choice, running after him and banging on the door, begging him not to go, still calling him “Dad” no less, all the while watching Kate’s reaction, which I swear, Faris broke my heart. And when Molly (Alyvia Alyn Lind) grabs her bike and chases after him as the limo drives off, that same girl who was taught by Leo to ride without training wheels, and he’s looking back with an expression that screams both pride and pain, it’s seriously heartbreaking. This emotional moment was built up extremely well because we do see the connections he made with Molly and Emily. I feel like Olivia (Payton Lepinski) got the short-end of the stick when it came to development, but the emotions were justified.
This is a weird one. Yes, there is a lot worth hating in this movie. From the graveyard of comedy, an annoying performance by Derbez, characters that have been overdone in both better and worse movies, an unbearable beginning and end to the story, I find it difficult to argue with anyone would say that they hated this movie. Having said that, for every moment that I hate… or every two moments that I hate, somehow this movie pulls something that I actually like out of nowhere. I like the growing connection between Leo and Kate and the girls, I like how he does go through a legit arc in his character, and some emotional payoffs are effective for the most part. Ultimately, I don’t hate this film. I don’t like it either. Somehow, it balances out to just… okay. As a recommendation, I say go the safer route and rent it or wait for it to stream. If you end up hating it like the majority seem to, I would hate for you to think that you wasted your hard-earned money on this. But I might recommend seeing it eventually, just not in theaters. A rags to riches story that I will remember being both terrible and kind of heartfelt.
My honest rating for OVERBOARD: 3/5