“Annie” Is No Musical Masterpiece

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"Annie" starring Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhane Wallis.

HOLLYWOOD—It might be one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history. Any guesses as to who it is? It’s Annie, and nearly 30 years after the musical first hit the big screen, the remake has arrived starring Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis as the precocious little one.

The musical numbers in this installment are no powerhouses to say the least. That’s always an interesting thing to see captured on film; actors or actresses not known for their singing abilities attempting to convince the viewer of their capabilities that ultimately fall short.

Of all those who can carry a note is Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx. Foxx portrays Will Stacks, a media mogul who is running for Mayor, but needs that extra push to get his face to the voters. In a chance meeting, Stacks rescues Annie (Wallis) from being struck by a car, and overnight both he and Annie become the gossip of the media.

While Annie sees her life slowly being transformed as she is introduced to the world of wealth and money. Will’s sidekicks include political advisor Guy (Bobby Cannavale) and assistant Grace (Rose Byrne).

Annie’s mean-spirited caregiver Ms. Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) continues to do her all to shatter dreams. Diaz has played the role of villain/bad guy before; it’s nothing we haven’t seen before from the actress.  It’s nice to note that Hannigan’s failed aspirations become the catalyst for her shattering everyone else’s.

“Annie” becomes more a tale about popularity and how people use one another to gain notoriety, compared to that message of love and belonging that the movie musical captured decades ago.  The singing and dance numbers are quite fun for children, but I think adults will check out of the movie way early.

There are warm moments in the movie, and even redemption from characters that are not favorites early on, but in the midst of morality they come to grips with the bad decisions they have made in their life. I wanted to go into this movie loving ever second of a musical, which seems to be a tradition in the multiplex every Christmas nowadays. Be warned: next week “Into the Woods” arrives.

“Annie” has some good moments, but the narrative direction is so one note, as a spectator it becomes difficult to place this film on the pedestal of an adaption that lives up to the classic.