‘Annie’ Review Roundup: Quvenzhané Wallis Can’t Save Movie Musical Reboot
Annie, the beloved musical, has been brought to the big screen once again by Will Gluck with Beasts of the Southern Wild darling Quvenzhané Wallis in the titular role of the orphaned youngster.
As the familiar story goes, Annie has been brought up in a New York orphanage, waiting for her parents to come back for her with the matching locket. At the orphanage, she has to suffer through the drunken and degrading orders from Miss Hannigan – this time played by Cameron Diaz – until a wealthy local man (Jamie Foxx) sweeps in to show her the lap of luxury. Through their unlikely friendship, Will Stacks (the new Daddy Warbucks) comes face-to-face with the struggles of the less fortunate and becomes a better man for it while finding love with his sweet assistant, played by Rose Byrne.
From the start, there were high expectations for Annie, which benefitted from the casting of the much beloved Wallis, musically talented Foxx and reliably entertaining Diaz. However, the execution of the reboot has left critics with little to praise other then the commitment of its talented stars. The brunt of the harsh criticism targets Gluck, who has been slammed for a ham-fisted version of the Annie narrative that does the opposite of improving upon the original.
“Where to begin in describing the awfulness of “Annie”? Why not with Sandy, Annie’s dog, whose name now connects with the superstorm in this hapless contemporary update of a musical that begged to be left in its 1930s period. Have you ever seen a dog suffer from incompetent direction? This one does, but no more or less so than the human members of the cast, none of whom have any emotional connection with one another, let alone with a standoffish pooch.” – Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
“The retooled Broadway classic has been superficially updated, but not at all improved. Quvenzhané Wallis is adorably plucky as the lead inAnnie. She and Jamie Foxx as the newfangledDaddy Warbucks character have an appealing chemistry and their songs together are the best moments in the movie. But the rest of Annie is banal, shallow and markedly cynical.” – Claudia Puig, USA Today
“Hard to believe the sun will come out tomorrow for the new “Annie.” Starring Jamie Foxx as the mogul and Quvenzhané Wallis as the moppet, there are so many reasons to rain on this parade. Director Will Gluck’s glam, grim re-imagining of the Depression-era musical about the hard-hearted rich man and the little girl who melts him, is truly depressing.” – Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
“The narrative and emotional architecture of a much loved, frequently revived, maybe-not-quite-as-great-as-you-remember-it show has been reduced to a chaotic shambles. A movie musical is more than a bunch of actors lip-syncing on camera, but “Annie” is barely even that. The voices sound thin and flat. The mouths don’t move in time with the music. The dancing is a chaotic stew of flailing limbs. Numbers that are supposed to lift you out of the story into a realm of giddy wonder and pure feeling have the opposite effect. You just wish they would end.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Annie is currently in wide release.
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