Anna Faris and Eugenio Derbez Make a Perfect Pair in Gender-Flipped ‘Overboard’ Remake
Remakes of successful films have proven to be safe bets in Hollywood, and “Overboard,” the 1987 comedy classic about a working-class carpenter (Kurt Russell) who seeks revenge on the spoiled heiress (Goldie Hawn) who cheated him by convincing her she’s his wife after an accident leaves her with no memory, is the latest film to be remade for 21st century audiences. As dark as the above synopsis may sound to those not familiar with the film, rest assured that Russell’s only motive is to get some free housekeeping to settle an unpaid bill. Still, in 2018 it’s not acceptable to take advantage of an impaired woman for any reason, which is why it was wise to make Anna Faris the schemer in the new gender-flipped “Overboard.” Faris stars as Kate, an overworked single mom, who takes advantage of spoiled heir Leo (Eugenio Derbez), who, in another twist, is not American, but the son of one of the wealthiest men in Mexico (Fernando Luján). Derbez, one of Mexico’s brightest stars, and Faris, and who has been winning over American audiences with her own brand of quirky charm since “Scary Movie,” prove to be a winning pair in this comedy that celebrates diversity while exploring universal themes.
The character of Kate is all too familiar and relatable. As a single mother supporting two daughters, Emily (Hannah Nordberg) and Olivia (Alyvia Alyn Lind), Kate works multiple unglamorous jobs while pursuing a nursing degree. Her situation becomes even more desperate after her mother (Swoosie Kurtz) takes off to pursue her late-in-life dream of making it in the regional theater scene. Leo, meanwhile, is partying it up on his luxury yacht, and fate brings him and Kate together after he docks on the coast of Oregon and hires her to clean his carpets. Things take a turn, and it’s not long before Leo pushes her and her expensive equipment overboard. Days later, after Leo himself falls overboard and washes up on the shore with no memory, he ends up on the local news, and that is where Kate sees him. Encouraged by her best friend Theresa (Eva Longoria), she goes to the hospital to claim Leo as her husband. Once home, she immediately puts him to work, not just with housework, but also for the construction company run by Theresa’s husband, Bobby (Mel Rodriguez). With Leo being put to work for the first time in his life, hilarity ensues, as well as some conflict, as he takes his co-parent duties more serious than Kate bargained for.
Just like Derbez’s character in his previous English-language film “How to Be a Latin Lover,” Leo has a Peter Pan complex, something the actor is able to do effectively without being obnoxious. Despite being well into his 50s, Derbez exudes boyish charm, and he and Faris, who brings her own endearing wackiness to the table, are off the charts with the chemistry here. While the trajectory of Kate and Leo’s relationship is fairly predictable, “Overboard” is a fun ride. A lot of the humor comes from the reality that their fake marriage isn’t that different from most legit marriages, as their struggles are surprisingly relatable.. In one of the the funnier, more true-to-life scenes, Leo complains to his co-workers about the lack of sex in his marriage and how is wife feels like a stranger, only for his pals to laugh and say, “Same!”
In addition to Derbez and American favorites Faris, Longoria and Kurtz, “Overboard” showcases some solid comedic talents from Latin America, including Mexican comedian Omar Chaparro as Leo’s construction colleague Burro, as well as the two actresses who play Leo’s sisters, Cecilia Suárez and Mariana Treviño, both from Mexico. Suárez plays driven older sister Magdalena, a character whom it’s easy to have conflicted feelings about because, on one hand, she has a right to be angry when her chauvinistic father announces his intention to hand over the family business to playboy Leo, but, on the other hand, she goes to great lengths to ensure her brother stays dead, convincing everyone that he was eaten by a shark. The equally hilarious Treviño plays gullible younger sister Sofia, a musician whose talent is displayed during Leo’s awkward, laugh-out-loud funny funeral.
“Overboard” opens May 4 nationwide.