Saturday, August 14, 2021

OVERBOARD (1987) (Severin Films Blu-ray Review)


Severin Films

Region Code: A
Rating: PG 
Duration: 112 Minutes 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo, French DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo, Spanish DTS-HD MA 2.0  Mono with Optional English Subtitles
Director: Garry Marshall
Cast: Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Edward Herrmann. Katherine Helmond, Roddy McDowall

The eighties had more than it's fair share of silly, ribald and goofy comedies, but the romantic comedies were the least favorite of bunch for me. When Overboard arrived in cinemas I was a newly minted teenager and my viewing habits mostly revolved around fantasy, adventure and sci-fi, and the pursuit of horror and sex comedies that might offer me glimpses of titties, if I am being honest about it. I quickly figured out that romantic comedies were a genre least likely to offer me the perverted thrills I was seeking, so if it was advertised as a "romantic comedy" it was a movie I generally 

Such was the case with Overboard (1987), a film I skipped it until I saw it on VHS or on cable TV a few years later. It's a fairly standard-issue 80's romantic comedy directed by Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman), whose decades long career in TV and movies is littered with a lot of stuff I don't care for all that much, leaning heavy on romantic-comedies overstuffed with schmaltz, which is just not my cup o' tea. 

In it a snobby rich-bitch named Joanne (Goldie Hawn, The Sugarland Express) arrives along with her snooty husband Grant (Edward Herrmann, The Lost Boys) on their yacht to the seaside town of Elk Cove, Oregon. While docked there she hires a local widowed carpenter named Dean (Kurt Russell, Big Trouble in Little China) to remodel her overflowing shoe closet. After a falling out over the closet Joanne knocks Dean overboard and leaves port without paying him his $600 bucks, even worse, she tosses his tools into the ocean as well. 

Later that night Joanne herself falls overboard and is rescued by a garbage scow, and winds up back in Elk Cove with a case of amnesia. Dean sees a local news story looking to identify the amnesiac woman and takes the opportunity to pull one over the woman who treated him so poorly the day before, convincing her she’s his wife "Annie", and that she is the mother to his four out-of-control kids kiddos. While she has amnesia and doesn't remember anything she senses something is off about this poor-person living  arrangement, but nonetheless Dean is able to convince her it's the truth. He takes delight in putting her through the paces of a low-income housewife; taking care of his children and cooking and cleaning, with some fun scenarios displaying how inept she is at cleaning, mothering and cooking. Eventually they both develop a real feelings for each other, but things get a bit uncomfortable when she learns of Dean's deception, when her hubbie Grant comes looking for her months later. Which he does not because he loves her, he's been a happy defacto bachelor all these months, but because Joanne's mother (Katherine Helmond, Brazil, TV's Whose the Boss?) has been making inquiries about her whereabouts. 

It's a pretty thin and formulaic set-up even for an 80's romantic-comedy, but it holds together well-enough because of the simplicity of the Preston Sturges-esque set-up and the chemistry of real-life sweethearts Hawn and Russell who were clearly having fun and deliver a few solid chuckles while they're at it. For me Hawn is at her best playing the rude rich-bitch early on wearing ridiculous 80's excess styles with plenty of bare skin. We also get welcomes if small roles from Roddy McDowell (Fright Night) as Joanne's yacht butler and Mike Hagerty (Space Truckers) as Dean's best friend who is complicit in the subterfuge. 

Overboard (1987) arrives on Blu-ray from Severin Films in 1080p HD framed in 1.85:1 widescreen, with a new 2K scan. There's no verbage about the source of the new scan but this is a film that's always been a bit fugly on home video, even the previous MGM issued Blu-ray from 2011 was noisy and grainy. This might be due to the notoriously iffy film stock of the 80's, and the new Severin scan is also plenty grainy, but it looks more organic and less noisy. It's not the most colorful film either, it has a subdued color palette with an inherent softness, with an occasional red or yellow having a nice pop, but overall it's not a real looker of a film, but this is the best I've seen it look. 

Audio comes by way of English and French DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo and Spanish DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono with optional English subtitles. Dialogue sounds great and is never hard to discern, and the solid score from Alan Silvestri (Ready Player One) sounds very good as well. There are also songs on the soundtrack from Randy Newman, The Champs, The Wright Brothers and ZZ Top, and while a few are decent there's a lot of dated duds on this one, not a favorite of mine. 

Extras are a bit slim, we get the 2-minute Theatrical Trailer for the film plus a 14-minute Interview with Screenwriter Leslie Dixon wherein she talks about playing in a western swing band and having an epiphany, that if she didn't get out of there right then and there that that would be her life. So, she moved to L.A., checked out screenplays from the AFI library and studied them, and became a screenwriter! She also gets into growing up with a film-loving mom, how she was not too much into the vintage screwball comedies of Sturges and Capra, and how there are not that many truly pretty AND funny women. She also discusses the onscreen chemistry of real-life newlyweds Russell and Hawn, and how Roddy McDowell was the most fun "hang" on-set of anyone.  

The single disc release arrives in a black keepcase with a single-sided sleeve of artwork featuring the original artwork. We also get a slipcover with the same artwork. As a side note, this is one of the tightest fitting slipcovers I've ever seen. It was a chore to get the keepcase out of the slip without damaging it. It also only had the title printed on one side of the slipcover spine, the other is blank, which I thought was a bit odd. 

Special Features:
- Slipcover 
- Interview with Screenwriter Leslie Dixon (14 min) HD 
-Trailer (2 min) HD 

Overboard (1987) is a fun if terribly trite 80's romantic-comedy, and Hawn and Russell make this 'rich bitch made better by experiencing how the other half lives' bit of silliness all the more warm and funny. This is not the usual fare for Severin who usually cater to the more weird and demented cinema tastes, but I think it's great they're expanding their scope and I hope this sells a million units for them, and ends up on the shelves of Walmart and Target, perhaps introducing a few normies to their wild catalog. 

Screenshots from the Severin Blu-ray: