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Annie (2014): A Review

Director: Will Gluck

Running Time: 118 minutes

Release Date: Dec 2014

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne

Another film adaptation of Annie, based on the 1977 musical with a very modern spin. We have a loosely similar story, an orphaned girl that is likeable and has curly hair, saves a dog. She gets taken in by a kindly but eccentric rich dude with a warm-hearted assistant and someone else is trying to scam her to return to put her in the hands of fraudsters claiming to be her birth parents. The plot revolves around trying to stop them getting her for financial and political gain.

That all about wraps it up. At this point it is worth noting that the first adaptation in 1982 was far from classic but it actually had its points. The little redhead was iconic and became synonymous. Not to mention the choreography for numbers such as 'Hard Knock Life' were truly impressive. The characters were larger than life and engaging. After all, how can you have Albert Finney and not be winning? Still it must be said it was rather basic, ham-handed in its boisterous borrowing from Oliver Twist, and also, just far too long.

That said, compared to this version it was Citizen Kane. First of all it has Jada Pinkett and Will Smith, some other Pinkett, and Jay-Z attached to the production crew. So we know it it is going to be of very little substance and jobs for the boys. Still, they have truly outdone themselves when it comes to nepotistic sludge.

It is lazy tokenism, remaking it with a black girl, almost feels as if they did it for that reason and after casting decided to put no more effort into it at all. It’s beyond awful. Take whatever cliche you want: Phoned-in, bloated, contrived, tedious, lazy, a vehicle for xxxx. Nothing can be too much in describing the terrible experience this film gives.

Let’s try the cast. Quvenzhané Wallis is a kid, she knows no better but certainly deserves better than being associated with this drivel. We have Cameron Diaz who shines in the sense of managing to remain mediocre at every turn no matter what. Jamie Foxx, remember what was said about 'phoned in?' An actor of his magnitude choosing the paycheck in a way that even Robert DeNiro would find distasteful. Rose Byrne, who is one of our favourite comic actors here at Nicely Put, is floaty and saccharine, and Bobby Cannavale as a slimy aide is cringe-worthy after his awesome turn in Boardwalk Empire as the despicably evil Gyp Rosetti. I will not delve into seeing the wonderful Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Adebisi, Oz) in such pap

Okay, the cast was stellar, so what was wrong? Was it the cinematography? No, not really, it was a bit shiny and over touched but not terrible. Was it the editing? Well, partly, yes, but only in a minor way; you did feel seasick at parts. The previous two factors were from the film trying to be a lot cooler and memorable than it was. The musical numbers were uninspired and drab but not awful. the dialogue was desperate. It is endlessly trying to find lines that will be remembered and quoted. It misses by a country mile. The only laugh I got was when I read it had been nominated for a Golden Globe

The reason for this appalling abortion of a film is nothing specific. It cannot be as it is too poor to be from one determining factor. It is the concept and execution in a general way. No one in that wealthy, famous, historically exploitative, and geographically cosy production gang gave a toss. For a start there was no villain. Everyone was inherently good. In the 1982 version you feared for Annie as they tried to kill her. Here they try to mess her about a bit. Miss Hannigan (Diaz) is shown to be not-so-bad after all rather than a hate-filled would -be child killer. Then there is Annie herself who ends up visiting that awful trope of the brat kid thinking the parent figure is wrong for putting career first over some random thing. Forget having a place to live, food, toys, etc etc just pout because you have to miss the ball-game, or whatever. It’s a textbook lazy tool used to affect the end of a third act and spearheading character change. It has been done to death since time began and on the evidence of this trash, needs retiring/putting down.

Do yourself a favour, just don't.

0/10 (first time ever)


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