Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Emma Thompson, Aline Brosh McKenna, Will Gluck
Running Time: 118 Min.
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Cameron Diaz
Plot: Wealthy businessman Benjamin Stacks comes to the aid of a young girl living in an orphanage run by the tyrannical Miss Hannigan.
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Drama, Family
Official Website: Link
Review Excerpted from Kerry Lengel / Arizona Republic:
Quvenzhané Wallis was the youngest best-actress nominee in Oscar history for her fierce portrayal of a semi-feral bayou child in 2012's "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Now all of 11, the talented youngster brings her natural charisma to the title role of "Annie."
An update of the 1977 Broadway musical, this "Annie 2.0" moves the story from the Great Depression to present-day New York, where the irrepressible orphan lives with four other girls and a cartoonishly alcoholic foster mom played by Cameron Diaz. Scrubbing floors while jauntily singing "It's the Hard-Knock Life," she dreams of being reunited with her parents. But a chance encounter with a cellphone mogul named Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) offers her a fresh chance of finding a happy home.
Featuring bright, horn-heavy arrangements of such familiar tunes as "Tomorrow," along with a few new numbers, the up-to-the-minute plot involves social media and political chicanery, with the always-welcome Bobby Cannavale ("Boardwalk Empire") spicing things up as a sleazy campaign operative who will do anything to get his billionaire boss elected mayor of New York.
The feel-good story and sing-along production numbers are likely to please the movie's target audience of tween girls, but there's not a whole lot in "Annie" to win their parents over. The best thing about the movie is Foxx, who sings beautifully (with or without Auto-Tune) and brings an easy charm to his role as a hard-charging entrepreneur in sore need of a reminder about What's Really Important in Life.
Somewhat less watchable is Diaz as Colleen Hannigan, a trampy boozer still bitter about missing her shot at stardom in the music biz (she was fired as a backup singer for one-hit wonder C+C Music Factory). And a pair of romantic subplots — one involving Stacks' Type A personal assistant (Rose Byrne) — are perfunctory at best, cheesy at worst.
But of course "Annie" — which dates to the 1924 launch of the newspaper comic "Little Orphan Annie" — has never been the most sophisticated of children's stories. The latest version is formulaic and predictable, but it has its charms, not the least of which is Wallis' easy smile and sassy screen presence. And she's not a bad little singer, either, even if she's not quite ready for her "American Idol" audition.
For Wallis, as for Annie, "Tomorrow" looks bright.
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