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Geek Girl in Hollywood: Why an 'Overboard' remake won't work now

We love the Goldie Hawn-Kurt Russell classic. But its premise is still super creepy.

Overboard

Real-life power couple Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn have acted together twice, incGetty Images, MGM

This week, the news broke about an “Overboard” remake. If you don’t recall the 1987 film, it starred Goldie Hawn as Joanna Stayton, a spoiled heiress. She and her husband Grant (Edward Herrmann) were having work done on their yacht by carpenter Dean Proffitt (Kurt Russell).

Of course, she was monstrous to him. When she falls overboard one night and gets amnesia, Dean, as revenge, convinces her that she’s his wife Annie and the mother of his sons. She believes it. They (and I am not spoiling a film that came out 30 years ago) fall in love, and when her husband comes back to get her, she ends up leaving him for Dean, having changed as a person. As it turns out, a little gaslighting and kidnapping is really good for you.

Let me first say this: I have seen this film over 40 times. There were a few years there when it was always playing somewhere on cable TV. It was one of those films that, if you pass it while changing channels, you can’t turn off. I loved it. It’s sweet and romantic, and this is coming from someone who really hates romantic comedies.

That said, it belongs right where we left it in 1987.

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The remake will star Anna Faris and Eugenio Derbez, though the roles will be switched. He’s the obnoxious playboy from Mexico and she’s the one who convinces them they’re married. OK, on the page that sounds great. I love Anna Faris, and though I’m not yet familiar with Derbez, he’s a huge star in Latin America. I was happy to see that they changed the premise because doing a film about kidnapping a woman and messing with her brain wouldn't exactly go over well nowadays.

So, I went to bed after writing the story and it’s been bothering me ever since. I know people complain about audiences being too sensitive, but I’m sorry. If that original film had been made now, it would have really upset me. This guy is pissed at a nasty customer, so he kidnaps her, puts her in his bed and tells her to take care of him and his children, never telling her that she’s not Annie Proffitt. That’s horrifying! It's not romantic — it's a crime.

You know, there is a reason the film “Passengers” didn’t work. There, we had a guy (Chris Pratt, Faris’ real life husband as it happens) who was lonely. He woke up another passenger (Jennifer Lawrence) from cryogenic sleep after studying everything about her and deciding that they should spend their lives together. He did this knowing that he’d be taking her life away, making sure she’d never get to the planet she wanted to be on or practice the career that meant something to her… and they still fall in love. That might have worked 30 years ago, but now it’s just upsetting.

I’d really love to hear from you here. I may still be able to love a film from a certain time and know that it would creep me out if they made it now. What about you? Tweet me @JennaBusch and let me know your thoughts.

Follow Jenna Busch on Twitter @jennabusch and visit her site, Legion of Leia

 

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