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Overboard (1987, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell)



Grant Stayton III and his wife Joanna (Edward Herrmann and Goldie Hawn) are among America’s obnoxious super rich, enjoying a cruise in their yacht, which is the size of a liner. Berthed, a bored Joanna decides to refurbish a closet and hires local handyman Dean Proffitt (Kurt Russell) for the job. But he doesn’t use cedar, her wood of choice, and she tips him, unpaid, into the water; the very same water she hits that night, hitting her head on the way down and losing her memory. Seeing an appeal on TV for anyone who knows the now amnesiac Joanna, Dean plots his revenge. He claims her as his wife and instals her in his home as mother to the four sons of his long-departed wife. As Joanna (now Annie) learns how to clean, cook and look after the kids, so their relationship grows, until Grant learns of her fate and turns up to claim her. Will Joanna/ Annie choose love or money?

There are few surprises in this film; as one critic said, once she’s in Russell’s household, almost every comedy situation box is ticked. But beneath that there is an underlying warmth as both of the leads change their ways and warm to each other, blue collar worker to amnesiac rich-bitch, helped by the fact that they are an item in real life. Roger Ebert pertinently compared it to The African Queen as well as saying it was the sort of film Capra or Sturges would have been proud off, and the whole cast, from Roddy McDowall as the ship’s put-upon butler to Michael Hagerty as Russell’s best buddy (not to mention the wonderfully obnoxious kids), bring this delightful comedy safely into harbour.

production details
USA | 106 minutes | 1987

Director: Garry Marshall
Writer: Leslie Dixon

Goldie Hawn as Joanna Stayton
Kurt Russell as Dean Proffitt
Edward Herrmann as Grant Stayton III
Katherine Helmond as Edith Mintz
Mike Hagerty as Billy Pratt
Roddy McDowall as Andrew
Jared Rushton as Charlie Proffitt
Jamie Wild as Greg Proffitt
Jeffrey Wiseman as Joey
Brian Price as Travis
Frank Campanella as Captain Karl
Robert Goldman as The Yacht: Crew Helmsman
Scott Marshall as Coast Guard Cutter: Coast Guard Spotter Lucas
Bill Applebaum as Coast Guard Cutter: Coast Guard Friend
Don Thompson as Coast Guard Cutter: Coast Guard Guy
Laura Fabian as Grant’s Girlfriends
Rielle Hunter as Grant’s Girlfriends
Ray Combs as Elk Cove: Cop at Hospital
Bing Russell as Elk Cove: Sheriff Earl
Frank Buxton as Elk Cove: Wilbur Budd
Lucinda Crosby as Elk Cove: Waitress
Héctor Elizondo as Garbage Scow Skipper (uncredited)