Well I better come right out and tell you that I happened to be a huge fan of the 1982 Annie. As I child it was a favorite of my sister and of course naturally I ended up watching it numerous times myself and it holds a special place in my heart. Sure it isn’t the greatest film in the world but the musical numbers were memorable and the story was entertaining enough that I had no problems re-atching the movie over and over again.
So when I heard they were gonna re-make Annie in to a more urban, 2000’s version of the story, needless to say I was scared they were going to tarnish a movie that I held a soft spot in my heart for.
Well my fears were answered with Annie (2014) a horrible retelling of the classic 1982 film, this time taking place in a ghetto New York neighborhood, and staring the likes of Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis from Beast of the Southern Wild Fame. The musical numbers are all here and the story is basically the same, with a modern twist. However what is missing is the magic that made Annie (82) so much funny to watch. This version feels like everyone is just running through a routine and cashing in cheques.
Wallis plays Annie, a young orphan who spends her days in school, motivating her class to slam their desks and cause complete chaos and her nights in front of an Italian restaurant, waiting for her long lost parents to come find her. She lives in a run down apartment building with her foster care worker, a mean, bitter, drunk named Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). Hannigan has about 10 other orphan’s living in the same crammed room as Annie and she forces them to clean all day, while she soaks in booze and day time TV.
One day while Annie finds a way to get out of the apartment for a bit, she see’s two boys chasing and harassing homeless dog. She chases after them and is almost run over by a truck. Thankfully Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), a local cell phone company owner, who is running for Mayor, saves her just at the last second. Stacks PR rep Grace (Rose Bryne) and his crony Guy (Bobby Cannavale) see a way to get more votes for Stacks and encourage him to have lunch with Annie. While at the lunch Annie is able to convince Stacks to actually come let her stay with him. Thus starting a whole new journey for Annie.
The biggest issue with this version of Annie is that it is just so dreadfully dull. Things are happening all the time but nothing that really matters and scenes just go on and on. The movie’s running length could have easily been trimmed by 30 minutes and you would have had a much tighter and better quality film.
Sometimes you just need to know when to edit some stuff out.
The acting is another issue this time around. Young Wallis does a fine job as Annie but and her voice is about the only singing voice I could stand in the movie. Jamie Foxx truly comes off like he is phoning it in. Camera Diaz who was already appallingly awful in this years Sex Tape, is just about as awful in this film, overacting like there is no tomorrow. Take a breath sister!
However what truly sinks this dud, is the updated versions of the songs.
They are all poorly done, and sound just a little bit different from the original but that slight difference is just enough to make them become damn near un-listenable. Take Diaz’s version of “Little Girls” my goodness if that isn’t a Razzie clip I don’t know what is.
I can understand the reasoning of making an updated, more urban version of this film, I mean this generation has grown up hearing Hard Knock Life song by Jay-Z. The movie has a laugh out loud funny moment in the beginning of the film that pokes fun at the way the two films will be very different. If only the rest of the movie could have kept up with that cleverness.
Annie is likely to appeal to young children, most likely little girls, who will find a new hero in Wallis’s Annie. Unfortunately for parents this is strictly for the children and will leave you squirming in your seat at the poor acting, dreadful singing and extra long running length. Sometimes being a parent is a Hard Knock Life.