Movie Review: ‘Annie’ Belts Ballads And Has Some Terrible Performances


If you were to research the new ‘Annie’ film you would find quite the mixed bag. Little Quvezhane Wallis has been nominated for both a Golden Globe and a critics choice award. The film also received a nomination for best original song. However, The film is also 21% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes review aggregator and in Rolling Stone magazine’s worst 10 movies of 2014.

So, what is it? Is it an award worthy movie or one of the worst films of the year? The truth is that it’s neither. It’s certainly got a number of problems with it, but it’s not terrible. Young Ms. Wallis is certainly fun to watch in the film, but she’s not worthy of any awards (unlike her brilliant turn in ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’). ‘Annie’ is just a decent kids movie with a number of really good songs and a few terrible performances.

Those terrible performances come from the likes of Cameron Diaz and Bobby Cannavale. Who actually get the worst musical number in the film together. Diaz plays Ms. Hannigan. For those of you that don’t know the musical, Ms. Hannigan is the mean lady that takes care of Annie and a few other foster kids. Diaz plays her with the subtlety of a knife to the chest. She is so overblown that she makes Carol Burnett look like a PBS News Special. Also, she doesn’t have the greatest pipes in the world. She’s not bad, but she’s not really particularly good either.

Then there is Cannavale in the role of campaign manager to the rich cell phone tycoon, William Stacks (Jamie Foxx). I know that the guy is supposed to be a weasel and I’m not supposed to like him, but did he have to be so unbelievably annoying. His one dimensionally over the top character made me want to punch the movie just about every time he was on screen. I especially couldn’t stand it when he poked in with some one liner or a musical stick after a song. Both Cannavale and Diaz do this in the movie and it’s very annoying.

You combine their cringe worthy performances with a handful of cheesy sequences (plus a large dose of materialism) and you might have the recipe for disaster. Luckily, the wonderful Quvezhane Wallis saves the day playing Annie. She’s cute, quirky, funny, and despite a few flat notes she really carries the tunes. Oh, and what great tunes they are. I grew up to songs like “Tomorrow” and “Hard Knock Life” as a child of the 80’s. They surely change them up a bit here, but they are just as good as they ever were.

Jamie Foxx does a pretty decent job as a rich guy running for mayor and Rose Byrne is even better as his assistant. There is plenty of heart warming as the rich fellas feelings succumb to the young Annie and a manipulative tear may string itself from a few softies. Yet, at the end of the day, it is all about the music with this show and that is where it delivers. ‘Into The Woods’ may be the better musical this holiday season, but it’s the songs of ‘Annie’ that will leave you humming.

Nathan Ligon
One Response
  1. December 22, 2014

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