Overboard (1987)

Overboard (1987)

Rich bitch Joanna hires country carpenter Dean to build a closet on her yacht. When the two don’t see eye-to-eye, Dean is left unpaid while Joanna sets sail. The following day, Joanna is fished out of the sea, after falling overboard, suffering from amnesia. Dean sees a neat way to regain the money she owes him… he tells her she’s his wife; that way Dean gets a free housekeeper and mother for his four kids.

Overboard is a 1987 American romantic comedy film directed by Garry Marshall, written by Leslie Dixon, and starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and produced by Roddy McDowall (who costars). 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.

About the Story

Spoiled, selfish heiress Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn) is accustomed to the life of the idle 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. He puts up with her rude and condescending attitude and produces some quality work which is dismissed by her because he used oak instead of cedar, despite her not having specifically asked for this at the start.

When he agrees to redo the closet after he gets the money for the work done she refuses to pay and they have an argument, during which he astutely notes that she is inventing things to complain about because her life is so pampered and boring (this gets overheard by the yacht’s crew on the intercom who applaud him for telling her off), which concludes with her pushing him off the ship and dumping his tools in after him.

Overboard (1987)

Later that night, as the yacht sails away from the harbor, Joanna goes out on deck to retrieve her wedding ring and falls overboard. The next day the local TV news shows a story about her having been picked out of the water around midnight by a garbage scow. She is suffering from amnesia and is taken to the local hospital where no one can figure out who she is. Once Grant realizes she has fallen overboard, he sails back to port to get her. After seeing her mental state and her lashing out at hospital employees, 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 TV news on the same day, Dean, the dismissed carpenter, and a widower living in squalor with four sons, decides to seek revenge, or more specifically, get Joanna to work off her unpaid bill and losing his tools. He goes to the hospital and tells her that she is Annie, his wife of thirteen years and the mother of his 4 sons.

The hospital staff is eager for her to be gone, but they need binding proof he is responsible for her, and he bears no legal documentation to do so. He is granted her release by telling them about a small birthmark on her behind, which he saw on the yacht when she was wearing a revealing swimsuit. She reluctantly goes home with him. Once there, she is appalled by his residence, but feels some obligation to pitch in, having come to think of herself as “Annie”.

At first, Joanna has difficulty dealing with Dean’s sons and the heavy load of chores. She soon adapts, however, and learns to cook, clean, do laundry, and care for the family dogs. As she masters her 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 to develop motherly love toward his sons, and starts streamlining the money problems with more efficient budgeting.

She also tells off a persnickety teacher who gives the boys a hard time, accusing the school of being more concerned with ranking than the well-being of their students – the boys have all come down with Poison Oak. Joanna also convinces Dean to step up and be a father to his sons rather than simply be their friend, as his sons are doing poorly in school and struggle with literacy, yet he simply brushes these issues aside rather than fixing them.

Overboard Movie Poster (1987)

Overboard (1987)

Directed by: Garry Marshall
Starring: Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Edward Herrmann, Katherine Helmond, Mike Hagerty, Roddy McDowall, Jared Rushton, Jeffrey Wiseman
Screenplay by: Leslie Dixon
Cinematography by: John A. Alonzo
Film Editing by: Sonny Baskin, Dov Hoenig
Costume Design by: Wayne A. Finkelman
Set Decoration by: Tom Bugenhagen
Art Direction by: Jim Dultz, James Shanahan
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Distributed by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release Date: December 16, 1987