Monday, December 22, 2014

Annie - 2 stars

Instead of the 1930s, this Annie is set in Harlem in 2014.  Annie (Quevanzhane Wallis) is a tough kid living in a foster home with several other girls.  The foster home is run by Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), who doesn’t do much but drink all day and yell at the kids.  Instead of Daddy Warbucks, Annie is taken in by cell phone tycoon Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), who’s also running for mayor.  His staff thinks that taking in a foster kid will help his image.

One of the things that bugged me in this movie was the music.  First of all, they didn’t include very many of the songs from the original.  A few are there, but they’ve been remixed and given more of a hip hop beat.  Most of the songs were written for this version, and they aren’t very memorable.  And none of these actors should be doing a musical.  Wallis is cute and sounds ok, and Jamie Foxx has a good voice, but the rest are embarrassing. 

The story isn’t bad, and the scenes between Annie and Will Stacks are sweet.  Of course he starts off as kind of a jerk, and by the end he loves Annie.  Their scenes together have heart and there are some genuine laughs.  But aside from that, the movie doesn’t have anything else going for it.  Stacks’ assistant (Rose Byrne) has a crush on him for some reason, and his campaign manager (Bobby Cannavale) is a boring jerk.  When a couple pretends to be Annie’s parents show up and take her away, it takes like five minutes before she’s rescued.

But the worst thing about this movie is the casting of Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan.  Diaz is a good actor when she’s given the right material, but she’s all wrong here.  Anyone they cast would have had a hard time comparing to Carol Burnett, but Cameron Diaz?  Really?

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