Starring: Quvenzhané Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, David Zayas
Directed By: Will Gluck
Written By: Will Gluck, Aline Brosh McKenna
Rating: PG (US) Running Time: 1 hr 58 min
The movie opens with Annie, a red-headed girl performing her book report on ex-presidents for her class. When done, she takes a bow, receives her well earned applause and the teacher calls for Annie B.
“Annie B, you’re up!”
Such a simple, honest and respectful nod to the original movie, and a superb start to the updated Annie for 2014. A movie that brings a more contemporary inspired rhythm to the old classic songs, and updates the story for our social media obsessed world.
Is it as good as the original? No. Sorry folks, just being honest. While I enjoyed the new mix on the old classic songs, the performances just weren’t up to the same quality of the originals. Save for Jamie Foxx, one of the few stars in this cast that could actually sing well. Cameron Diaz is a talented actress, but she’s not a great singer, and certainly no Carol Burnett as the drunk bitter foster parent, Miss Hannigan. Rose Byrne too is great next to Jamie Fox as Will Stacks’ long suffering assistant, Grace. But once the singing and dancing starts, you can clearly tell she’s out of her comfort zone.
Annie however, is very charming, and despite how blatantly exploitative it gets, Quvenzhané Wallis turns in a cute performance as the titular character. Her rapport with the rest of the cast, especially Jamie Foxx and Rose Byrne carries the film well, and everyone in this production seems to be having a great time.
If you’re a fan of the original Broadway show, or the original movie, keep your expectations low going into this version of the story. It’s not up to the same standard, but you may enjoy the fresh take on the classic songs. This film is rated PG, and I think kids will really enjoy this. It’s certainly targeted towards a younger audience.
Shot around New York City, but not an overly visual experience. The dance numbers are also shot too closely and edited too much to be really effective. A matinée screening is recommended if you can’t wait for the rental. At home, a HD screening for the entire family could be fun.
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