I almost feel bad about reviewing this movie. Having grown up with the original 1982 ‘Annie’ I had high expectations for this re-make. Too high. Comparing the two is almost unfair however it’s gotta be done, and man, do I have some words to give you.
With the new Annie remake we have Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild, 12 Years a Slave) playing little orphan Annie. Oh wait, excuse me, little foster child Annie. In the film we have the traditional rags-to-riches story when Annie is taken from her overbearing guardian Ms. Hannigan oddly enough played by Cameron Diaz (There’s Something about Mary, In Her Shoes, Charlies Angels) into the care of multimillionaire Will Stakes; Jamie Foxx (Stealth, Valentines Day, Horrible Bosses). With the original version Ms. Hannigan runs the local orphanage but this new spin has Ms. Hannigan as Annie’s foster-mother just cashing the checks the government sends out for child care. This version also has the billionaire previously known as Mr. Oliver Warbucks now Mr. Will Stakes running for Mayor. The campaign is not going so well but his numbers take a turn for the better when he saves Annie from getting hit by a bus! His two advisors Grace played by Rose Byrne (Neighbors, The Internship, Get Him to the Greek) and Guy; Bobby Cannavale (Lovelace, The Bone Collector, Blue Jasmine) find this a fantastic opportunity and set up a lunch date with Annie who slyly inputs that his campaign would really take off if he let her stay with him.
Will Annie’s spunky personality and positive can-do attitude win the heart of stand-offish Will Stacks? I wonder.
I wanted to love this movie so bad. I really did. When I’d first heard about this film late last year I thought, an up-to-date Annie remake!? What a cool, awesome idea! But this isn’t what you’d really call a remake at all. More like some kind of spin-off from the classic. Sure they got the up-to-date part down and they made sure to remind you every second of the film. The whole movie was practically made up of Twitter and Facebook and cell phones, and Youtube references they practically forced it down our throats. We get it, it’s 2014!
And it’s really hard to identify a movie as a musical when, when the singing starts the characters ask, ‘Is he really singing this?’ which refers to a scene between Diaz and Cannavale during the number of ‘Easy Street’. It’s also hard to identify a movie as a musical when the dancing is almost non-existing, and the singing makes you cringe (Oh Cameron Diaz…). Not to mention how can you have an Annie remake without the original songs!? Half of the original songs were missing and the ones they decided to keep were butchered although I must admit they were updated with catchy beats. The cast itself: fantastic! The acting was great. I have no hang ups with that whatsoever and how can you? Look at who you’re working with! However no one except Jamie Foxx seemed comfortable with the music scenes. And Wallis was okay too.
This family film is rated PG for some mild language and rude humor.
Rotten tomatoes gave this ‘remake’ a 29% rotten. And I had such high hopes for this too…
If you have kids take them. Because it is a great family film to see and I’m sure they’ll enjoy it. However if you’re an old grumpy person like me and you grew up with the original and you’re going to the theater to rekindle just a little bit of that nostalgia spark. Then don’t waste your time. Please don’t.