Released: 12th July
Seen: 18th July
In 1987 a comedy called Overboard came out, starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. The film was a simple romantic comedy about a poor man and a wealthy woman who meet and hate each other because she is so rich and stuck up that she get’s upset when he uses Oak to build a wardrobe instead of Cedar. A series of events happens that leads to her losing her memory and, in an act of revenge, Kurt Russell’s character convinces Goldie Hawn’s character that they’re married and she’s his housewife. It was a cult comedy film that didn’t exactly do well at the box office and, looking back on it, has more than a few problems with it’s plot. Let’s just say that you couldn’t really do a plot exactly like that without having people point out that he is basically taking a woman’s right to consent away from her and tricking her into a life of subservience and sex with someone she doesn’t know… but it worked then because it was the 80’s, we were very dumb and didn’t think that kind of plotline through, and Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn are such charismatic icons that they managed to make it romantic as hell. So, what if we flipped the genders, kept the awkward “Sex and subservience with a total stranger” plot and threw in some awkward as hell racial tension on top for good measure… sounds like fun.
This remake is the most pointless thing that I’ve watched this year. Say what you will about Skyscraper being a ripoff of Die Hard, at least that film had an original script that didn’t just lift scenes wholesale for no reason. I’ve seen a fair few remakes in my time, I’ve never been able to literally lip-sync along with the dialogue that was completely lifted down to the syllable. I did that today, with a remake of a film I only saw today. The script isn’t even really rewritten to adjust to the times, it’s a find and replace with the genders and they ran a few sections by a translator to put it in Spanish because they thought it might make the story feel fresh. Spoilers, it doesn’t, you just turned it into a story about a pretty blonde white woman getting a rich Mexican man to be her husband… and also a day labourer. Did no one check that detail and think about how it might look? Because trust me, it looks exactly as awkward as you think it does.
No one is trying in this movie. No one. Anna Faris is a hilarious actress who keeps having her talents wasted and maybe she just didn’t try because this movie was painful to watch her in. She wasn’t funny, she wasn’t interesting, she wasn’t clever. The first joke in the movie is her saying “Bloody stool”. that’s it. The joke is that phrase, it is the first thing brought up in the movie and it’s a running gag… this movie actually expects you to hear Anna Faris say “Bloody Stool”, sing a little song to remember that phrase, and you are meant to laugh at that. You are meant to laugh at this woman, who is trying to pass a test to become a nurse, saying Bloody Stool and it’s not funny goddamn it. Meanwhile, Eugenio Derbez is there to be a playboy and to intentionally shove Anna off the boat when she wasn’t a threat to him. At least in the original movie, Kurt Russell was yelling and standing over Goldie Hawn’s character so she had a good reason to push him away… this one? He did it because he was annoyed. He’s also incredibly bad in this movie, to a degree that is stunning. I’m sure he’s a great actor, I’ve sadly never seen any of his other work, but in this movie it’s painful watching him. He has no comedic timing and no charm whatsoever. I have no idea how on earth he’s meant to be some big fancy playboy because I don’t get how women would be throwing themselves at this charmless oaf, even if he had all the money in the world.
It truly amazes me how poor the script for this is. What they did change, beyond the names, is pointless. The nurse subplot has no purpose other than to give the main character some pointless reason to need, essentially, a maid… why couldn’t she be getting him back to pay for the property he damaged? It worked in the original, why not here? Oh right, “Bloody stool”, forgot. For some reason, they tried to replace the idea of the rich character having a partner who used their absence to party and replaced it with a shitty version of Dynasty for literally no reason. There’s also a reference to the 1987 film, and not a subtle throwaway one but literally saying “This happened in the 80’s to a pretty blonde woman”, thereby suggesting that the exact same events happened in the exact same location in the exact same order to strikingly similar people… That is not good storytelling at all, it raises questions they’re never going to be able to answer. Oh, and for some weird reason, there’s a reference to Jaws… it’s a bad joke that belongs in a spoof movie and it a tonal mess in a film that’s already just a regular mess.
The only thing in this entire movie I can remotely praise is Eva Longoria who plays Anna’s best friend (No point in character names, that implies that I care) and is a genuine bright spot. She’s the one who comes up with the plan in the first place and she actually manages to pull out a few jokes. Why couldn’t she have been the lead female character in this movie? She has great comic timing, she is a pure delight to watch AND we remove the whole “White girl turns a mexican man into day labourer” thing that is obscenely uncomfortable to think about. She makes her scenes worth looking up on youtube when the DVD comes out and someone uploads clips to try and sell copies. Apart from that, no one else is even memorable enough to critique.
When I go and see these movies I’ve taken to bringing a pad and paper along with me and in my notes, the one that is written in the biggest text says everything I could possibly need to say… Why does this exist?