Annie (2014)

What a fun piece of garbage. This is not a good movie, but I enjoyed it a lot anyway. I grew up with the 1980s movie version. It was a much loved video rental pick, and these songs were a large part of my childhood. I have enough nostalgia for this music that I was always going to enjoy this movie, at least a little bit. Quvenzhané Wallis is adorable and charming as Annie, which makes the whole thing mostly work. Even when it shouldn’t she’s super cute, and I want her to be happy, and wind up caring.

The twenty-first century updates mostly work, or at least aren’t actively bad enough to make me upset. It still mostly makes sense. The social media bits were actually pretty smart. I suspect the 2014 pop culture references won’t age well, but there’s a Twilight franchise parody in the middle which is so perfect, and renders all complaints irrelevant. Honestly, it might be the best/smartest part of the movie.

The character of Hannigan suffers from being sweetened up, instead of getting to be an unrepentant villain. Also because Cameron Diaz is just not very good in the role. The pop culture bits here feel very nonsensical, the comedy isn’t very funny, and she doesn’t have a great voice.

Jamie Foxx is fine, and has some really good moments. His songs all wind up being Jamie Foxx songs which is a little bit odd for the rest of the musical, but whatever.

There were not one, but two, completely unnecessary heterosexual romances shoehorned in. I really like Rose Byrne’s character, Grace, but forcing her to be the love interest was a boring decision. There are so many more exciting ways to take that relationship, but yawn, compulsory heterosexuality.

I can’t actually advise watching this movie unless you already like Annie, or if you’re watching it with kids. I’m pretty sure this would be less annoying than the 80s version? But I can’t say for sure, because my memories of that are pretty vague, and I’m not going to risk ruining it’s perfection by seeing how it holds up. I’m sure there are kids who’ve taken to the remake the way I took to the original, and I bet they’re having a great time. That’s what really matters. It’s fun.

 

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