January 25, 1988 12:00 PM

Goldie Hawn always seems likable, which is just as well, since the vehicles she’s picked lately—Best Friends, Protocol, Wildcats and now this film—are monuments to mediocrity. Hawn has her best moments early as a rich woman who lives on a yacht; her hobby is henpecking hubby Edward Herrmann. A need for emergency repairs—Hawn’s closet needs remodeling—forces them to dock in a cove in Oregon. Carpenter Kurt Russell’s results don’t quite measure up, however, so she stiffs him for the bill. Back at sea that night, Hawn falls overboard and then is rescued by another ship. The rest of the movie rests on the premise that the cold water gives her “temporary” amnesia that lasts two months. In this kind of romantic comedy, anything is possible, but this is surely testing tolerance. Widower Russell, hearing of her dilemma on the news, wants his payback. He claims Hawn is his wife so he’ll have someone to take care of the four monsters he calls children and clean up the garbage dump they call home. Of course Hawn’s once empty life is now replaced with a fulfilled, challenging one. Director Garry (Nothing in Common) Marshall and writer Leslie (Outrageous Fortune) Dixon take the opposite route however. Just when the movie needs punching up, the audience is hit with flimsy celluloid logic: If you clean up the house, you clean up everyone’s lives. Hawn is much too complacent. And while it’s evident she and Russell share a strong chemistry together that extends offscreen, they’re at their best when they’re bickering. Overboard is an appropriate title; once again, Hawn misses the boat. (PG)

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