Film Review: Uneven ‘Annie’ Makes Some Very Bad Decisions

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CHICAGO – The diabetes-inducing Broadway musical “Annie” does not deserve two film versions – including the newest release – especially since both are tortuous and somewhat dark. The “modern” version even eliminates most of the strength that “Annie” possessed on stage, its chipper songs.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

Updating the musical from depression era comic strip to hip hoppy modern times was a stretch as well, and luxuriated mostly in the fact that the Daddy Warbucks character – named Will Stacks in this version – lives in excessive wealth and we’re suppose to admire it, dammit. It’s as if the Republican Party had financed the film. Annie is less a plucky orphan (excuse me, foster child) than Cinderella character, contrived to be saved by the wealthy prince, and given obstacles that hacks up even the most sappy elements of the original stage play. When they eliminated one of the best songs from the musical, “NYC,” and replaced it with “The City’s Yours,” the celebration of New York morphs into the ownership of it, which pretty much tells you what priorities this “Annie” inhabits.

Plucky street urchin and foster child Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis) is searching for her real parents, who were last seen at an only-in-fantasy-New-York-City Italian restaurant. She waits there every week, and bores her fellow foster kids with the note that was pinned to her. This also irritates her foster “Mom,” Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), and that is their “Hard Knock Life.”

Meanwhile, Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) is a billionaire mobile phone mogul running for mayor of New York City. His campaign is in shambles, until by accident he saves Annie from being run over on the streets. His campaign manager Guy (Bobby Cannavale) encourages Stacks to foster Annie, thinking it will boost his mayoral chances. Stack’s associate, Grace (Rose Byrne), becomes Annie’s caretaker as well, until the paranoid billionaire warms up to her.

“Annie” opens everywhere on December 19th. Featuring Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Bobby Cannavale and Rose Byrne. Screenplay adapted by Will Gluck and Aline Brosh McKenna. Directed by Will Gluck. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Annie”

Quvenzhané Wallis
Riding Into Our Hearts: Quvenzhané Wallis as ‘Annie’
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Annie”

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