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Overboard (1987 film)

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Title: Overboard (1987 film)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Romantic comedy film, Roddy McDowall, Kurt Russell, Edward Herrmann, Garry Marshall, H├ęctor Elizondo, List of fictional butlers, List of American comedy films, Bing Russell, Sven-Ole Thorsen
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Overboard (1987 film)

File:Overboard film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Garry Marshall
Produced by Roddy McDowall
Nick Abdo
Alexandra Rose
Anthea Sylbert
Written by Leslie Dixon
Starring Goldie Hawn
Kurt Russell
Edward Herrmann
Katherine Helmond
and Roddy McDowall
Music by Alan Silvestri
Randy Newman (end title theme)
Cinematography John A. Alonzo
Editing by Dov Hoenig
Sonny Baskin
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) December 16, 1987
Running time 112 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Box office $26,713,187

Overboard is a 1987 American romantic comedy film starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.[2] It was directed by Garry Marshall, produced by Roddy McDowall, and loosely inspired by the 1974 Italian film Swept Away. In turn, Overboard was adapted into the 2006 South Korean television series, Couple or Trouble.


Wealthy heiress Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn) is accustomed to living the life of the idle and spoiled rich with her husband Grant Stayton III (Edward Herrmann). When their yacht gets stuck in the rural hamlet of Elk Cove, Oregon, for repairs, Joanna passes the time by hiring carpenter Dean Proffitt (Kurt Russell) to remodel her closet. Dean puts up with Joanna's rude and demanding attitude, only to have her refuse to pay him because she dislikes the type of wood he used. When he demands payment, she shoves him overboard along with his tools. That night, Joanna falls overboard while searching for her wedding ring on deck, develops amnesia, is rescued by a garbage scow and taken to the local hospital. Grant goes to get her, but after seeing her mental state and mistreatment of the staff, he denies knowing her and returns to the yacht as a bachelor to embark on a spree of parties with younger women. After seeing her story on the local news, Dean, a widower living in redneck clutter with four young sons, decides to seek his revenge and remedy his own domestic problems by taking advantage of the situation. He goes to the hospital and tells Joanna that she is Annie, his wife of thirteen years and the mother of his sons. He convinces the staff of his identity by revealing a small birthmark on her behind, which he saw during the remodeling when she was wearing a revealing swimsuit. Unwillingly convinced, she reluctantly goes with him to his home.

At first, Joanna has difficulty dealing with Dean's boys and the heavy load of chores, including cooking raw food, doing laundry in a tub, caring for pets, housekeeping, and only being able to sleep on the couch. She soon adapts to her new life as a housewife, and begins to fall in love with Dean and his children. Dean is secretly working two jobs and Joanna handles the boys' school issues, family issues and money challenges with considerable wisdom and grace. Seeing Dean struggle, she uses her untapped knowledge of things like the Seven Wonders of the World to draw up plans for a miniature golf course based on their shared designs. Although Dean has also fallen in love with Joanna, he fails to come clean with her being used as a mom in fear that she would leave them. Even when he tries to come clean when she discovers a pair of monogrammed panties from her former life, which cause her to think he's having an affair, a friend, Billy Pratt (Michael G. Hagerty), says they belonged to a girl he met to get Dean off the hook.

Meanwhile, giving in to the pressure of Joanna's inquisitive mother Edith (Katherine Helmond), Grant reluctantly returns to Elk Cove to retrieve his wife. Joanna's memory returns to her upon seeing him. She is shocked and hurt when she realizes that Dean has been using her for months. She returns with Grant to the yacht where her mother and Dr. Korman, the family's bumbling psychiatrist, are waiting. Joanna finds her old life stuffy and pretentious. One evening after doing shots of Tequila with the crew, Joanna turns to Andrew (Roddy McDowall), her loyal butler, and apologizes for her poor treatment of him after all the things he had done for her in the past. Andrew replies that he is both surprised and pleased with the apology. He observes that unlike most people, Joanna has been given an opportunity to see life from a different station than that to which she was born. He does not tell her what she must do, but merely states she is the one who can decide how to use the new perspective.

Realizing how happy she was with Dean and the kids, and how selfish and spoiled she was in her former life, she commandeers the yacht and turns back towards Elk Cove. When the neurotic and selfish Grant finds out, delusions of grandeur kick in and he accuses his wife of mutiny, admits he never loved her and commandeers the ship himself. Meanwhile, Dean and the boys go to get Joanna back with the help of Billy's friend in the Coast Guard. When they catch up to the yacht, Joanna and Dean both jump overboard and are reunited in the water. An incensed Grant actually attempts to shoot her with a bow and arrow, accusing her of mutiny for jumping ship, only to be unceremoniously booted over the side and into the water by Andrew, who then promptly gives his notice of resignation. Safely aboard the smaller vessel, Joanna, having left and unofficially divorced Grant, reveals to Dean that the yacht and the money are actually hers, not Grant's. Hours later, while the boys are making out their Christmas lists (due to their sudden wealth), Dean asks Joanna, "What could I possibly give you that you don't already have?" Joanna looks at Dean's boys and smiles, then replies, "A little girl."



The film received a mixed reception from critics. Based on 21 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 52% of the critics enjoyed Overboard, with an average rating of 5.1/10.[3] Variety praised Hawn's performance, but called it "an uninspiring, unsophisticated attempt at an updated screwball comedy that is brought down by plodding script and a handful of too broadly drawn characters."[4] Rita Kempley of the Washington Post called it "a deeply banal farce" with "one-dimensional characters, a good long look at Hawn's buttocks and lots of pathetic sex jokes."[5] Roger Ebert liked it; while calling the film predictable, he wrote: "the things that make Overboard special, however, are the genuine charm, wit and warm energy generated by the entire cast and director Garry Marshall."[6] The Los Angeles Times' review of the film read: "The film tries to mix the two 1930s movie comedy strains: screwball romance and populist fable. But there's something nerveless and thin about it. Hawn and Russell are good, but their scenes together have a calculated spontaneity--overcute, obvious."[7] During the 2012 Academy Awards telecast, actress Reese Witherspoon admitted that Overboard is her all-time favorite movie.

Box office

The film was generally considered a mild success, grossing nearly $27 million domestically,[8] but returned to profit via cable television.[9]


The CD soundtrack composed by Alan Silvestri is available on Music Box Records label (website).


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • AllRovi
  • Box Office Mojo
  • Rotten Tomatoes
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