This “Annie” has no heart, no point


You know all of those film purists who rage against Hollywood’s trend of remaking films from the past? Movies like “Annie” make their case that much stronger. It’s not that it’s a terrible film. It’s just a pointless one.

annie1I’m a fan of musicals, but am very cautious when it comes to their big-screen versions. There’s just something about musicals that demands a live audience, and the structure is very specific to a limited stage setting. Once you take those stories and expand them to the cinema world, something usually gets lost in the translation. Now I’ve never seen “Annie” as a musical, but there was just something off about the musical numbers in this film version. They seemed to be randomly plopped in throughout the script, causing a lack of fluidity between songs. And “Tomorrow,” the song that’s supposed to be the show stopper gets thrown in early in the film without any real buildup, and therefore it doesn’t get the payoff it deserves.

Quvenzhane Wallis, the young actress who charmed audiences and earned an Oscar nomination with her performance in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” goes into full mugging mode as “Annie.” It’s like the only direction she received in each scene was to smile big and deliver her lines with street smart sass. It’s one of the most unnatural and cringe-inducing child performances I’ve seen in a long time. And I don’t know what movie Cameron Diaz thinks she’s acting in. I’m actually a fan of Diaz’s work but her performance as the foster caretaker Ms. Hannigan is certainly deserving of a Razzie. I do give a lot of credit to Jamie Foxx and Rose Byrne, however, as billionaire Williams Stacks and his assistant Grace. They give it their all, and at least seem to be having fun while doing it.

annie2Of course I realize that I’m not the target demographic for this film, but I have to think that even the targeted children audience will be too smart to fall for this glossy remake. Producing couple Will and Jada Pinkett Smith apply the same formula to “Annie” as their previous production, the 2010 remake of “The Karate Kid” – modernize the story by making it more urban, throw in a few hip hop numbers and cast one of your kids in the lead role. Thankfully Willow Smith, who originally was supposed to play the title character, was deemed too old at filming and replaced by Wallis. But remakes like “Annie” are like the Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz” – shiny on the surface, but lacking heart.

Couldn’t those cyber terrorists have targeted this Sony movie instead of “The Interview?”