Overboard (film)

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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
Roddy McDowall
Music by Alan Silvestri
Randy Newman (end title theme)
Cinematography John A. Alonzo
Edited by Dov Hoenig
Sonny Baskin
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
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. The film's soundtrack was composed by Alan Silvestri. In turn, it was adapted into the 2006 South Korean television series, Couple or Trouble. In recent years, it has become popular via cable television and has gained a cult following.


Wealthy heiress Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn) is completely spoiled and accustomed to living the life of the idle and rich with her husband, Grant Stayton III (Edward Herrmann). While waiting for their yacht to be repaired in the rural hamlet of Elk Cove, Oregon, she passes the time by hiring local carpenter Dean Proffitt (Kurt Russell) to remodel her closet. At first, he puts up with her rude and demanding attitude. However, when she refuses to pay because he didn't use cedar, the "right" type of wood according to her, he says he will redo the cabinet for double pay. This enrages her, and he loses his temper and tells her off, causing her to toss him and his tool kit overboard.

Later that night, as Joanna and Grant sail away from the harbor, she falls overboard while searching for her wedding ring on deck, develops amnesia, is rescued by a garbage scow, and is taken to the local hospital where no one can figure out who she is or where she belongs. Once Grant realizes she's fallen overboard, he sails back to port to get her. But after seeing her mental state and how horribly she treats the staff, he denies knowing her and returns to the yacht 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 by having her work off her unpaid debt by serving in a domestic capacity. He goes to the hospital and tells her 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 home with him.

At first, Joanna has difficulty dealing with Dean's sons and the heavy load of chores but soon adapts to her new life as a housewife and learns to cook, clean, do laundry (in a tub even), and care for the pets, all while having to sleep on the couch at night. As she masters her own responsibilities, she learns about the boys' school and family issues and that Dean is secretly working two jobs to make ends meet. She begins to fall in love with him and his sons and handles the boys' family matters, and money challenges with considerable wisdom and grace, as well as telling off the local public schoolteacher who is more concerned with bean-counting than with the boys' education. Seeing Dean struggle, she makes his dream come true by helping him design a miniature golf course based on her untapped knowledge of the Seven Wonders of the World. Although he has also fallen in love with her, he doesn't tell her the truth about her real identity for fear that she will leave. Even when he tries to come clean when she discovers a pair of monogrammed underwear from her former life (which causes her to think he's having an affair), Billy Pratt (Michael G. Hagerty), a friend, says they belonged to a girl he met to get him 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 her. Upon seeing him, her memory returns immediately. She is shocked and hurt when she realizes that Dean lied and has been using her for months. She returns with Grant to the yacht where Edith and Dr. Korman, their bumbling psychiatrist, are waiting. She now finds her old lifestyle stuffy and pretentious compared to that with Dean and his sons. One evening after doing shots of tequila with the crew, she 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. He replies that he is both surprised and pleased with the apology. He observes that unlike most people, she 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 boys, she commandeers the yacht and turns back toward Elk Cove. When the neurotic and selfish Grant finds out, he accuses her of mutiny, admits he never loved her, and commandeers the yacht himself. Meanwhile, Dean and the boys attempt to get her back with the help of Billy's friend who is in the Coast Guard. When they catch up to the yacht, she and Dean both jump overboard and are reunited in the water. An incensed Grant attempts to shoot her with a bow and arrow, accusing her of mutiny for jumping ship, only to be unceremoniously booted overboard by Andrew, who promptly gives his notice of resignation. Safely aboard the smaller vessel, Dean is impressed that she left Grant for him, but she says the money and yacht are actually hers. While the boys are thinking about how to enjoy the new wealth, he asks her, "What could I possibly give you that you don't already have?" She looks at the boys, smiles, and replies, "A little girl."



The film received a mixed reception from critics. Based on 24 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, half of the critics enjoyed it, with an average rating of 5.2/10.[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 her buttocks and lots of pathetic sex jokes."[5] Roger Ebert liked it; while calling it predictable, he wrote: "the things that make it 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 it 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 it is her all-time favorite movie.

Box office[edit]

The film was generally considered a mild success, grossing nearly $27 million domestically.[8]


  1. ^ "OVERBOARD (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Revenge of the epic movie flops". London: Independent. 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2010-07-04. 
  3. ^ "Overboard". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  4. ^ "Overboard". Variety. 1986-12-31. Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  5. ^ "Overboard". Washington Post. 1987-12-16. Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  6. ^ "Overboard". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  7. ^ Wilmington, Michael (1987-12-18). "MOVIE REVIEW : Hawn Keeps 'Overboard' From Sinking". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  8. ^ Box Office Mojo

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