Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"Annie" Review - Written by Tim Hellman

'ANNIE': Two and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Modern-day adaptation of the 1977 Broadway musical (of the same name), which was based on the 1924 comic strip 'Little Orphan Annie'. It stars Quvenzhane Wallis (of 'BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD' fame), as Annie, and Jamie Foxx, as billionaire Will Stacks (an update on the Daddy Warbucks character, from the comic and musical). It costars Rose Byrne, Cameron Diaz, Bobby Cannavale, David Zayas and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. It was directed by Will Gluck (who also directed 'EASY A' and 'FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS') and written by Gluck and Aline Brosh McKenna. I don't think it's nearly as enjoyable as the 1982 film version (which I grew up on) but the music is still good (and there's three new songs).

The story, once again, centers on a ten-year-old orphan named Annie (Wallis). She lives at the home of a mean alcoholic, named Colleen Hannigan (Diaz), with four other foster children. Colleen is very abusive to the kids, constantly making them clean her apartment, and only takes care of them so she can collect money from the state. Annie dreams of being reunited with her parents, who promised they'd come back for her (long ago). She runs into New York City mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Foxx), while running home one day, and falls to the ground in the streets. Stacks saves her from being hit, by a truck, and the incident is caught on video. The video then goes viral and Stacks sees it as an excellent opportunity to save his failing campaign. An odd relationship develops between the two.

The film is filled with corny jokes, and bad acting, and it's even more cheesy than the 1982 movie (which I still love, for nostalgic reasons). The music is great, still though (especially my favorite: 'It's the Hard Knock Life'), and the movie does have a possitive and upbeat message for kids (like it's source material). It's other saving grace is Quvenzhane Wallis, who has some really powerful scenes (towards the end of the film). She could have delivered another award worthy performance, if her part had been written a little better (she is nominated for a Golden Globe though, but doesn't quite deserve it). For those reasons the movie isn't horrible but the 1982 version is much better.

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