There have been countless iterations of the Broadway musical "Annie" but never one so modernized as the new motion picture version starring Quvenzhane' Wallis. The story has been completely updated and some new songs have been added. Plus some of the old songs have been given new interpretations. Still the sun does come up tomorrow and Annie is the star of the show as always.
In the film Annie is a foster kid living at Miss Hannigan's (Cameron Diaz) apartment with an assortment of other girls. Each Friday night she sits outside a restaurant looking for the parents who abandoned her. They wrote a note on the check from this restaurant so that is why she expects them to return for her there.
One day she is racing about New York and is rescued from being hit by a car by the candidate for Mayor Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx). Someone captures this rescue on their phone and Stacks popularity rises. His assistant suggests he become Annie's temporary foster parent and move her into his home. This is done and Annie's life brightens up for sure.
The story is a simple one so the enjoyment of the movie rests on the charm of the actors and this is where Wallis becomes a gold mine. She has personality to spare and enough charisma to light up the entire city. Plus she can sing. When the movie is over it is the sparkle of her smile you remember.
It is a good thing the movie has Wallis because everyone else in not on their A game. Jamie Foxx has some good moments when he is showing his emotions about Annie, but when he is singing or trying to be funny it tends to fall flat. Diaz is also not so great in the singing department but she does have some comedic moments when she is harassing her small charges. A duet with Booby Cannavale on "Easy Street" could have been one of the best musical numbers in the movie but it is so abbreviated that it never has any real power.
One of the weakest performers in the film is Rose Byrne who plays Stacks' assistant Grace. Byrne is always good in any role she undertakes but this one just doesn't seem to be a good fit for her. Her singing voice is weak, and her dance moves awkward.
The film is rated PG for some adult situations.
"Annie" is not as bad as you feared it would be but not as good as you hoped it would be. As long as the camera is on Wallis it is a delight but when she is not the focus the proceedings come to a halt. So keep your eyes and your interest on her and you will have a good time.
I scored "Annie" a tomorrow 6 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper