Does this mean we can expect a remake of the classic Christian Bale musical Newsies next? Maybe starring Jayden Smith?
“Annie” is the retelling, or would that be re-singing?, of the classical musical “Annie” The story remains mostly the same with a girl who while looking for her biological parents to escape her foster situation, finds a way to stay positive and ends up with an unexpected new family. The beats of the plot remain the same even as the beats of the classic tunes are remixed for a new generation. Though I have to say I thought the songs kept their power quite nicely.
It’s a tricky thing to take a beloved musical like this and tweak the insides a bit, but for the most part I found myself enjoying the modernization of the soundtrack. With a musical like this you want to make sure the audience doesn’t lose the ability to sing along and I think they stayed true to the original tunes enough that there will be many belting the notes right along from their seats.
I also have to admit I quite liked Jamie Foxx in this, not that he has a lot to do, but he plays the “Daddy Warbucks” or in this case “Will Stacks” role just fine with a fun sense of humor that feels right for the movie. Unfortunately nobody else seems to follow suit.
As much as the classic elements of this musical try to save the day there are just too many misfires here to overcome. First off, the acting outside of Foxx (and possible the new Annie) is eye rollingly bad. Cameron Diaz especially seems to be doing some sort of over the top caricature of the original that might feel at home reading cue cards on SNL, but here completely takes us out of the film. I mean I know Carol Burnett is a tough act to follow, but come on. Plus, and this may be the heart of why it doesn’t work for me, the whole movie seems to want to turn the precociousness of the original on its head and ground this in some sort of more “real world” feel, but ends up being as schmaltzy and precocious as the original. The movie starts by making fun of the original character of Annie, and then proceeds to introduce the new Annie in a way that is just as trite and cliched as the first. Again, I don’t have issue with embracing the cheese factor of the first one, but you can’t have your cheese and hate it too. Pick a lane and stay there.
Overall, this remake of “Annie” feel unnecessary and not well thought out. Despite the unarguable catchiness of the original music and story, some over the top acting,and a lack of direction and tone consistency take this hard knock grade down to a C.