QUVENZHANE WALLIS JAMIE FOXX ROSE BYRNE CAMERON DIAZ BOBBY CANNAVALE
In 2013, Quvanzhane Wallis became the youngest female to be nominated in the best actress category. Wallis went from such a profound and unique film like Beasts of the Southern Wild, to the kind of film I have been complaining about all year, another remake. Produced by Will Smith and Jay Z, this is the third time the musical Annie has hit the big screen, previously in 1999. From sex comedy Friends with Benefits, director Will Gluck is apparently just an on set organizer with big names and studio backing calling the shots behind the scenes; he also has no musical experience. Will and Jay Z called this new adaptation a “reimagining”, it takes place in modern day with rent-a-bikes, cell phones and programmable penthouses.
10-year-old Annie (Wallis) is always hustling, she talks her way onto free bikes, free food and free flowers for her foster parent Ms. Hannigan (Diaz). Annie and her fellow orphan friends dream of being adopted, they sing about it each night while listening to Annie read her letter from her parents. Opportunity knocks in the form of a delivery truck that nearly runs her over; thankfully she is saved by Will Stacks (Foxx). The city’s richest man is running for mayor and could use a popularity boost by a bright eyed girl like Annie. Temporary adoption begins to melt the heart of the bitter businessman. “I’m ten, not an idiot,” she tells Stacks, understanding she is only a social media tool for his campaign.
Perhaps the most honest line in the movie is Cameron Diaz’s Hannigan, “I used to be a bright star”. The few scenes featuring Diaz are a few scenes too many as her provocative Hannigan is another failed modern reinvention. Besides the fantastic voice of Wallis, who seems to be unlimitedly talented (or just well coached), Byrne has a surprisingly good voice and compared to Diaz is the funnier element of the film. Foxx also sounds great in a few of the musical numbers, as each character gets at least one solo, whether they should be singing or not (Cannavale).
The most impressive musical number comes at a fundraising dinner where Annie is supposed to surprise everyone with her hidden talent. The moment is quickly ruined by a subplot revealing the orphan can’t read. If you make it to the end of the film, it gets even more ridiculous as Wallis and Foxx begin dancing in the street. For 10 year old girls this Annie remake might be hours of fun as they sing along with the songs. However for anyone else there is little to nothing to enjoy or keep your brain stimulated, not even that pathetic car chase sequence in the end.
Final Thought – Tomorrow is only a day away if you survive this nauseating modern adaptation.
By: Dustin Chase