“Overboard”

 

            OK, it's cheesy.  But it's a good cheesy.  OK, it's a re-make.  But the original was back in 1987, and they've flipped the script.  And, they've added a distinctive Latino flavor.

            Leonardo Montenegro (Eugenio Derbez) is a wealthy playboy who cavorts with supermodels on his private yacht.  Though he keeps himself in some semblance of shape because he's vain, he really does nothing all day except party.  He's never worked a day in his life.  His aging father still runs the big, successful, company, and is waiting for Leonardo to settle down so he can hand over the family business.  But now the father is aging, and two jealous sisters think they ought to be running the company now, and are content to have Leonardo out of the picture.  He unwittingly assists that agenda by managing to fall overboard, and when he washes up on shore, he completely forgets who he is, and winds up in the hospital.  His older sister pretends she doesn't know him, and fakes his funeral.  The media ask the public if anybody can help identify him.

            Kate (Anna Faris) is a hard-working single Mom, a widow with three daughters who's desperately juggling jobs delivering pizzas and cleaning carpets, so she can afford to finish her studies to be a nurse.  She's frazzled but self-reliant, and when she meets Leonardo to clean the yacht, she's impressed, all right—by his emptiness and arrogance.  But her best friend Theresa (Eva Longoria) comes up with the idea of Kate going to the hospital and claiming Leonardo as her husband, in order to get some free help at home—-cooking, bringing in a paycheck from a construction job---and now the playboy gets his hands dirty, still wondering why he doesn't recognize his own wife and daughters.

            Yes, it's an improbable premise, but there's an opportunity for a lot of discovery humor here.  At first, we don't like either of the characters, Leonardo because he's self-obsessed, though fun-loving, and Kate because she's deceitful, though hard-working.  But Leonardo experiences things for the first time, like the satisfaction of a job well done, and the rewards of relating well to children.  Kate begins to appreciate who he's becoming, especially how well he's treating her daughters.  Yes, they're actually starting to fall in love, and now she's having a hard time deciding whether to tell him who he really is.

            There are lots of lighthearted moments with Leonardo and the construction crew---they call him “lady hands” because his hands were so soft when he began working with them.  The problem comes when Leonardo is finally identified by someone who knew him before, and when his “real” family arrives, suddenly the amnesia is gone, and he's himself again.  But now he's not certain exactly who that is.

            Well, of course we're rooting for the budding romance, even if we have to indulge in some silliness to get there.  Don't expect any save-the-world melodrama, or any fancy film fantasy.  It won't break any records at the box office.  But it's light and breezy and good family fun, and there's nothing wrong with that.

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association