The 'Overboard' Remake Features Different Languages & Cultures In A Way That Deserves Our Attention
The beloved '80s movie Overboard featured Kurt Russell's working-class dad taking the opportunity of a lifetime to get revenge on the spoiled, wealthy heiress who screwed him over, played by Goldie Hawn. A remake of the film is now hitting theaters with a few big changes for the better; not only is there a gender swap (Anna Faris now plays the Russell role), but the Overboard remake actually reflects the real world with an international cast, a frequent use of subtitles, and a casual acceptance of diversity in all forms.
In the film, Faris plays harried working mom Kate, while Latinx actor Eugenio Derbez is snobby, spoiled playboy Leonardo, who replaces Hawn's heiress. Instead of having a rich spouse happy to ditch him, like Hawn's version, Leonardo's family runs a Mexican building-supply empire that's made them the third-richest family in the world, and Leonardo's sisters are angling for control of the company.
One drunken night, Leonardo falls off his ridiculously large yacht and washes up in Kate's hometown with amnesia. With three kids, two jobs, and a nursing test to study for, Kate could use some extra help around the house, and so she tricks Leonardo into believing he's her husband, that he works for her friend's construction company, and that he does all the housework, cooking, and cleaning because he loves Kate so much. Leonardo's never actually worked a day in his life, and though he initially has a very hard time resigning himself to borderline-poverty, he eventually warms up to Kate's family, and genuinely helps make their lives easier.
Kate's friends include pizza-shop owner Theresa, played by Eva Longoria, and construction boss Bobby, played by character actor Mel Rodriguez; together they're a long-time married couple who've each built their own businesses from the ground up. Kate's coworkers are prep chefs who love soccer and telenovelas respectively, and everyone switches easily between Spanish and English. Kate's oldest daughter is taking Spanish classes, and at one point Leonardo praises her fluency, though suggests she still needs to roll her r's a little more.
Meanwhile, half the action takes place in Mexico. It's clear the film was made with a multilingual audience in mind, and subtitles are often used to depict the difficulties of working-class life in America. Even the crew of Leonardo's yacht come from all over; the Nordic ship employees translate the drama for their fellow coworkers, and the ship's manservant is played by popular Scottish actor John Hannah.
The film even addresses stereotypical Latinx machismo on a number of levels, including Leonardo's brother inheriting the company instead of his competent older sister who's been running it so far, just because he's the only son. Leonardo's construction coworkers call him "Lady Hands", meanwhile, because his soft hands show he's never done any manual labor. But they don't knock him for being an attentive and caring father; they all have families they care about as well. Kate and Leonardo's relationship actually works because of the same sort of familial care, with the only threat to their happiness being Leonardo learning that he actually comes from a completely different class.
At one point in Overboard, there's also a mention of Speedy Gonzales, a cartoon figure that can be a source of contention in Hispanic communities. Leonardo has a tattoo of him that plays heavily into him buying Kate's lie. When she asks why he would get that, Leonardo jokingly explains that, like the character, he's fast, brings cheese to his people, and he always outwits that pussycat. Plus it's likely an homage to the actor himself; Derbez is producing a Speedy Gonzales movie, and will be the voice of the infamous Mexican mouse. It's a full circle from stereotype to full acceptance, even via bad tattoo, and it's just one more great example of how Overboard so easily embraces diversity without making it a big deal at all.