Let’s say – hypothetically, of course – you were slighted by an attractive rich lady with an awful personality, who accidentally washes up on shore with amnesia due to the traumatic experience. Would the first thought in your mind be, “Hey, since she owes me money and treated me poorly, I think I’ll take her home, make her a glorified indentured servant to my four kids, and keep the charade going for a couple of months until I get bored of it or until she loses her mind”? If yes, then congratulations, you are effectively Kurt Russell in the romantic comedy Overboard! If no, then you’re probably a (relatively) well-adjusted member of society or you’re just too lazy, take your pick.
If I make Overboard‘s storyline sound problematic, that’s for good reason. However, let’s contextualize this a bit. 1) No, the story is not a man’s fantasy about having an unknowing, completely willing wife – it was actually written by female screenwriter Leslie Dixon. 2) It’s 1987, so culture was probably willing to let some of the more risque elements of the story slide. 3) It does take a fairly gentlemanly approach to the whole thing as Russell’s character Dean eschews from any physical and sexual contact throughout the first few months of the affair. And 4) It’s a rom-com at heart, with a playfulness that is not always aligned with reality.
With that out of the way, what director Garry Marshall gives us is a rather innocuous comedy about two people in different classes of life realizing that they are actually soul mates despite the cultural divide. Goldie Hawn plays the filthy stinkin’ rich Joanna, who promptly falls overboard one night searching her massive yacht’s deck for her immense wedding ring, falling right into the hands of Dean’s master plan to get back at her for not paying him for the work he did on her yacht closet. At first, she hates her lifestyle – including the cavalcade of kids that comes with it – but over the course of a few months (!!!) she steadily realizes that her family life is a true blessing. And eventually she also learns it’s all a lie.
Both Hawn and Russell put in great performances in their respective roles, with Hawn actually showing a bit more necessary range having to jump between the life of luxury and blue collar moments through the majority of the film. The two have good chemistry and are easily the reason Overboard is as good as it is – the fun is evident, and despite Dean’s poor decisions, the audience still ends up rooting for the both of them somehow anyway. The laughs are not uproarious but Dixon’s script performs at its best when skewering the lavish leisure lifestyle of the uber-rich – there’s a great line late in the movie asking Joanna why she felt the need to get up and get her own food rather than wait for the butler. And overall, Overboard presents a rather heartwarming tale of true love blossoming from unexpected fateful encounters, even if it does take some manual manipulation to get there.
If one can get past the improbable premise and the hackneyed case of amnesia that sets the film in motion, then Overboard should churn up some good feelings and a few laughs, aided mostly by its stars’ chemistry. As rom-coms go, this one has a bit more grit to it than the average contemporary fare which should appeal to a wider audience. Step out of your comfort zone as Severin has done and cruise with Overboard for a mostly rewarding experience.
Full uncompressed screenshots from this Blu-ray.
While it’s pretty clear that Overboard was not the main focal point of Severin’s recent acquisition of MGM film rights, they have not taken their responsibility to release it on Blu-ray lightly. The movie gets a new 2K scan although Severin does not divulge the source. Overboard had a previous Blu-ray release by MGM back in 2011 that was received fairly poorly due to some problematic grain scale issues. This new offering from Severin is a step up thanks to better grain management, though it is important to note that the heavy grain is still evident throughout a large portion of the film including most ambient lighting scenes. However, the grain is better managed without prominent evidence of compression during playback, even though occasional compression can be noted in our screenshots. Even with the new 2K scan, though, Overboard does retain an overall softness to it that is seemingly a curse of this film. Colors are consistent. Very little darkness is used in this film, although delineation in a couple of night wide shots is low. The source does have a few damage spots and speckles, though not distracting. Overall, this is a fairly good transfer for the film and a moderate step up from the past Blu-ray.
Audio is presented with a default DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 English track, although both French and Spanish are also provided. Severin’s mastering seems fairly low since I needed to turn the volume up rather high (a common theme with their releases), though once it was at a higher volume the stereo offering was suitably robust with clear dialogue and a rousing score. English subtitles are also included.
Severin certainly did not go overboard (this pun was ripe for the taking) on the special features, though they did do a bit better than the bare bones MGM Blu-ray. Here they provide a new 15-minute interview with screenwriter Leslie Dixon which adds some great background to the film’s storyline. Other than that, the same theatrical trailer from the previous release is included.
Also included is a very, very tight slipcover – please heed my warning when I say it is very tight so be careful extracting the case from this precious cardboard sleeve.
NEW 2K scan
NEW Interview with Screenwriter Leslie Dixon (HD; 14:19)
Trailer (unrestored HD; 1:55)
While Overboard is obviously an odd offering from Severin, they’ve made the best of it with a solid 2K scan and an extra interview to give additional incentive to upgrade from MGM’s previous Blu-ray. This is an enjoyable rom-com with an interesting premise and predictable results, but Hawn and Russell lead the way.
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