The premise for Overboard may be more than a little bit dubious, but it gets beyond that and easily proves itself to be a fantastic rom-com with two stars who spar brilliantly with each other and a great supporting cast that includes a number of mischievous, but likeable, child actors.
The plot sees a carpenter (Dean Proffitt, played by Kurt Russell) given the job of renovating the closet of a spoiled, rich woman (Joanna Stayton, played by Goldie Hawn). The closet is part of a very nice ship and so, when the two fall out over the final result, Joanna refuses to pay Dean and instead pushes him overboard, with his tools following. Dean is more than a little miffed, but his chance for a little payback comes when Joanna herself falls overboard and loses her memory. Joanna's husband (Edward Herrmann) realises that he can enjoy the bachelor lifestyle and so doesn't provide her real identity to anyone in authority so Dean, after seeing her on the news, goes along to the hospital and convinces everyone that he and Joanna are a married couple. Joanna, of course, doesn't find anything familiar as she goes "home" with Dean and her mind remains blank even as she gets used to her many chores and tries to cope with their four rambunctious boys. Of course, it's only a matter of time until she has to be told the truth, but Dean wants to be compensated for the money that he wasn't paid.
Directed by Garry Marshall, Overboard has a bright and breezy, pleasantly light, tone throughout. Everything is so easy to enjoy and go along with that, for the most part, it's easy to forget how nasty that premise really is. Think about it, convincing someone else that they've been married for years, had four kids and spend every day working hard to keep the house in order is pretty bad, even if it's a smiling Kurt Russell doing it. The script by Leslie Dixon helps keep everything just on the right side of light amusement and it's improved by the performances from Russell and Hawn. Edward Herrmann is good fun in his small role, Roddy McDowall (who also signed on as a producer) has some fun and Mike Hagerty is very entertaining as Dean's friend who goes along with the fiction. I'm not going to name all of the child actors because I find it hard to separate their individual personalities from the collective squabble, but they all did very good work.
If you like romantic comedies and you like Russell and Hawn, then you'll like this film. It holds up really well, in my opinion, and the script is full of some great one-liners as Russell's character keeps adding ridiculous detail on top of ridiculous detail to create a life that never was. There's nothing here to shock you, nothing here that pushes the very boundaries of cinema, it's just a fantastic bit of fun for fans of romantic comedies.
Overboard IS available on DVD as a standalone title but I thought I would share the love for some other '80s flicks here and recommend this pack - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Harry-Sally-Mannequin-Overboard-Anything/dp/B004C9MCCO/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1359004106&sr=8-6