A foster kid, who lives with her mean foster mom, sees her life change when business tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in.
This remake of ‘Annie‘ has been in the makings for some time, with Will Smith’s daughter, Willow, originally attached to star, but the delays in the production process led to Smith dropping out and Quvenzhané Wallis (Oscar nominated for ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild‘) taking the part. The basis of the original story is retained, with various elements updated for the modern environment including the addition of a couple of new songs (and some enhancements to staples of the original). The setting is updated from an orphanage to a foster home, where Annie (Wallis) and a few other young girls live under the ‘care’ of Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), a cruel and twisted woman with an alcohol problem. Her story intersects with that of mayoral candidate and wealthy owner of a mobile phone company, Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), when he saves her from an accident and is cynically persuaded by his advisors to take adopt the girl for political goals.
What follows is a charming tale as Annie and Stacks start to bond, with Annie finding a father, and Stacks finding something to care about beyond money and power. This forms the centrepiece of the film, and it helps that Wallis and Foxx are the best performers on show, with Foxx in particular really adding his own spin to the character and excelling at the musical numbers. Cameron Diaz on the other hand isn’t particularly great and overacts to the extent that it doesn’t ring true, whilst Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale are given minimal material to work with. The musical numbers themselves are serviceable, but the addition of extra beats and effects takes away from the authenticity and they don’t sparkle as well as you would hope or expect.
Like the majority of remakes these days, ‘Annie‘ doesn’t feel strictly necessary, but the enjoyable performances from Foxx and Wallis keep your attention even as the music and the rest fail to live up to expectations.
Directed By: Will Gluck
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, David Zayas and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje