Movie Beat: Anna Faris, Eugenio Derbez surprisingly adorable in new “Overboard”
By Jenniffer Wardell
Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, partial nudity and some language
Screenplay by Bob Fisher and Rob Greenberg
Directed by Rob Greenberg
Starring Anna Faris, Eugenio Derbez, John Hannah, Evan Longoria, Emily Maddison, Swoozie Kurtz and more
Grade: Three stars
Occasionally, Hollywood will throw away a real gem.
Despite a delayed release date and an appalling lack of press screenings, the new “Overboard” is an unexpected delight that no fan of romantic comedies should miss. One of those rare, precious remakes that both respects and improves upon the original, it’s an old-school charmer that manages to be both funny and completely adorable at the same time. If you’re at all comfortable with enjoying a heavy sprinkling of absurdity with your romance, you absolutely need to check it out.
The movie hews surprisingly close to the original’s plot, with a few very important twists. This time, it’s the guy (Eugenio Derbez) who’s the rich jerk, and the woman (Anna Faris) is a single mother of three kids trying to study for her nursing degree and trying desperately not to get evicted from her house. When Leo (the rich guy) gets her fired from her cleaning job just before falling off his yacht and getting amnesia, Kate (the single mom) pretends he’s her husband to get the additional paycheck and free babysitting while she studies. Leo’s sister, who will inherit the family business if Leo disappears out of the picture, is in no hurry to find him.
Of course, that’s where things get complicated.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I loved the Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn original, and have since I was a little kid. But the original did a lot of skating by purely on the Russell and Hawn’s charm and chemistry, and it’s ludicrousness levels were completely off the charts. This new version of the movie actually manages to come up with semi-reasonable explanations for a lot of it – a co-worker who forges documents, a healthy dose of telenovelas (Spanish soap operas) to give them the idea in the first place – and gives solid emotional explanations that make a lot of other things flow smoother as well. It even says a few surprisingly insightful things about life in general.
And on top of that, it’s just plain cute. Eugenio Derbez, a well-known Spanish-language actor trying to move to English-speaking audiences, does a fantastic job making Leo more than just a stock rich jerk. He starts out that way, of course, but as the character unfolds Derbez makes it seem more like Leo was the kind of guy who just needed a real sense of purpose to blossom. Though Anna Faris doesn’t bring quite as much nuance to her character, her Kate is a sweet woman who’s obviously trying so hard to keep her head above water that surprisingly easy to understand how she gets herself into this whole mess.
If you loved the original “Overboard,” you want to see this one. If you love old-school romantic comedies, you definitely want to see this one. No matter what Hollywood says, it’s worth it.
(Photo © MGM)