Seems like they’ve got a remake for just about everything these days. Same story with a few updated details, this is about an orphan (Quvenzhane Wallis), trying to make it in the world, when a cell phone entrepreneur turned political candidate (Jamie Foxx) takes her under his wing. It’s been forever since I’ve seen Annie (I’m talking decades (plural) here), and being that this is my fiance’s least favorite musical (she majored in musical theatre, she knows what she’s talking about), I can’t say that I was excited for this. But, as made evident through previous reviews, I will give literally any movie a shot, so giddy up.
This feels like it was remade just for the sake of making money; I suppose every production company’s end game is always the bottom line, but this rings completely uninspired and kind of pointless. So everybody knows Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life”, aka the Ghetto Anthem. It should come to no surprise that he is a producer on this, and every song featured here is given an urban drum beat. It could have been worse, I suppose, but there are many times during a number where some questionable decision from a musical standpoint is sure to irk you. This movie isn’t doing anybody any favors, and while I do think there is a bright future in movies for little Quvenzhane, this is not going to be the desired commercial success for her after her breakthrough role in indie favorite Beasts of the Southern Wild. While I’m fine with her being cast for the part, she’s not given a whole lot to work with, which brings us to the biggest detriment of this movie: everybody here is playing an over-the-top caricature, namely, Cameron Diaz. Bobby Cannavale also falls flat when performing this kind of shtick, but he is a comedy genius compared to Diaz. It is like she’s in a completely different movie where she’s the star, and everything she does here is loud, in your face and obnoxious, something that wouldn’t be out of place in an Adam Sandler movie. Every time she appeared onscreen, I cringed, because she is that godawful. The only person who I even remotely liked was Jamie Foxx, but he isn’t given much to do or add to his character, short of just having a mild case of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Annie starts off rocky and mostly goes downhill. There are a few nice moments within numbers that give you the occasional break, but for the most part, you are left shaking your head. The bulk of these actors don’t know how to properly approach comedy, and almost everybody here is miscast. This movie fails pretty hard, and even for a musical where people burst into song when they become overcome with emotions, this lacks subtlety.
Annie (2014) **
– Critic for Hire