Film Review: ‘Annie’

Annie movie 2014

Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhane Wallis competently head up an otherwise poorly thesped and unimaginatively conceived "Annie" reboot.

While there are several possible good reasons to remake the Depression-set musical “Annie” in 2014, none of them seem to have informed Will Gluck’s overblown yet undernourished treatment. More of a facelift than an update, the pic dusts off some old songs, adds a few desultory stabs at new ones, and stuffs the frame with shiny upscale gadgets that scream “modern.” Featuring a multiracial all-star cast with few pretensions to dancing expertise, the film replaces choreography with metronomic editing, while one-note overstatement drowns out character development. Even without the Sony hacking scandal that caused it to leak online early, “Annie” would seem headed for a lackluster Christmas bow.

The film begins promisingly with a pre-credits sequence wherein Gluck acknowledges the obvious parallel between the Great Depression and the currently widening rich/poor divide: A schoolroom show-and-tell produces a standard-issue, red-haired “Annie A,” only to replace her with an afro’d “Annie B” (Quvenzhane Wallis, the Academy Award-nominated waif from “Beasts of the Southern Wild”). Wallis’ Annie proceeds to conduct the class in an interactive historical performance piece celebrating FDR’s New Deal, no less. But this hint of modern-day hard times, it turns out, is evoked only to be treated as a quaint conceit.

In Gluck’s 21st-century version, Annie lives with other girls not in an orphanage but in a Harlem foster home run by bitter, alcoholic Colleen Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), lamenting her failed career as a backup singer. Poverty, in this squeaky-clean Gotham, relies entirely on sterile set decoration; a rat under a transparent plastic bowl looks more like an artifact than an actual denizen of Miss Hannigan’s apartment.

Racing through the streets for her dog, Sandy (here named after the hurricane, in an utterly superfluous example of contemporization), Annie careens into the film’s reincarnation of Daddy Warbucks, aka Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), a cell-phone billionaire running for mayor, who absentmindedly saves her from an oncoming car. When a video of the rescue goes viral, Stacks’ opportunistic campaign manager (Bobby Cannavale) arranges a photo session with the adorable moppet, which Annie savvily parlays into room and board in exchange for future photo ops.

Stacks reluctantly installs her in his palatial penthouse, where Annie; Stacks’ British advisor, Grace (Rose Byrne); and a Russian-accented social-services bureaucrat (an excellent Stephanie Kurtzuba) delightedly dance and squeal over each instance of runaway opulence. The rest of the plot roughly follows the original, with Annie bringing her patented optimism to bear on the obsessions and bitterness of those around her, dispensing epiphanies and granting salvation with the flash of a smile.

Wallis conveys the energy and perkiness of her character convincingly and charmingly, but lacks even a hint of the desperation that lies behind the belted-out infinite deferral of “Tomorrow.” Indeed, the entire film lacks any sense of poverty beyond the simple absence of luxury. Unlike the New York of Sidney Lumet’s similarly location-transplanted “The Wiz,” Gluck’s Gotham might as well be Toronto, with Stacks’ private helicopter swooping among the shiny glass skyscrapers as yet another bonus of the high life.

The acting in general tends toward the one-note and over-the-top. Foxx, the film’s only performer with extensive singing experience onscreen, wisely opts for understatement, but Diaz’s slutty dipsomaniac rants on unchecked, her falling-down-drunk numbers as unchoreographed as her would-be comic bits are poorly directed. Byrne’s line readings verge on the surreal as she attempts to express Grace’s career-gal loneliness by overprotesting her contentment, and Cannavale’s dirty-tricks politico makes for a flabby villain. Only David Zayas’ turn as Miss Hannigan’s eternally ignored but defiantly working-class suitor brings a believable if simplistic sense of class division to the film.

Very young kids may be diverted by “Annie’s” wall-to-wall music and nonstop movement; characters rarely pause to take a breath. Special thought was obviously expended on the presentation of the show’s Charles Strouse/Martin Charnin standards. “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” danced by Wallis and the other tyke actors with occasionally percussive, object-slamming accompaniment vaguely reminiscent of “Stomp” (already feeling more dated than Busby Berkeley), is winningly executed by this exceptionally talented child troupe. By far the film’s best incorporation of New York locations occurs in the staging of “Tomorrow”: Like Snow White warbling into her wishing well, Wallis starts off singing into a sidewalk rain puddle, while Gluck continues to catch her reflection against plate-glass buildings and the windows of passing buses throughout the number.

Film Review: 'Annie'

Reviewed at AMC 25, New York, Dec. 11, 2014. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 118 MIN.

Production

A Sony Pictures Entertainment release of a Columbia Pictures presentation in association with Village Roadshow Pictures of an Overbrook Entertainment, Marcy Media Films, Olive Bridge Entertainment production. Produced by James Lassiter, Will Gluck, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Caleeb Pinkett, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Laurence “Jay” Brown, Tyran Smith. Co-producer, Jeffrey J.P. Wetzel. Executive producers, Celia Costas, Alicia Emmrich.

Crew

Directed by Will Gluck. Screenplay, Gluck, Aline Brosh McKenna, based on the stage play by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charmin, and on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie.” Camera (color, widescreen), Michael Grady; editor, Tia Nolan; music, Greg Kurstin; production designer, Marcia Hinds; costume designer, Renee Erlich Kalfus; art director, Patricia Woodbridge; sound (Dolby Digital, SDDS, DataSat), Tod A. Maitland; supervising sound editor, John Wakeham; re-recording mixer, Tateum Kohut; choreography, Zach Woodlee; casting, Kathleen Chopin.

With

Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Cameron Diaz, David Zayas, Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Zoe Margaret Colletti, Nicolette Pierini, Eden Duncan-Smith, Amanda Troya, Dorian Missick, Tracie Thoms, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher.

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  1. Maria says:

    Apparently its pperfctly fine to turn a white character black yet if you try to turn a black character white its called whitewashing and is frowned upon. Wow. Hypocrites need to grow up.

  2. Diane says:

    Did we even SEE the same movie? I’ve seen all 3 Annie movies and loved this one the best! It’s modern, it’s hip, it’s fun, it’s relevant. And Jamie Foxx has some chops, so not sure why he’s bashed. This is why we have Yahoo ratings, so that movie-goers don’t have to depend on the subjective opinion of one person nowadays.

  3. As a film it js ok as Annie movie it is horrible it just isn’t Annie. Seriouslynkt hard to give charater a new name that wull function as title and say inspired by Annie and go on with there modern day story of orphans.

  4. Sherron says:

    I took my 7-year-old daughter to see this movie and we both LOVED it (especially the music). The songs were so catchy that I ended up buying the soundtrack so that we could keep enjoying it. I purchased the movie from the Google play store too. I am a huge fan of the original Annie and now this remake has a special place in my heart also. The casting was very well done. The best thing about this movie IMO is the songs. The plot is still the same classic tale as told in the original Annie. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars!

  5. Katy Rpss says:

    Ashlynn, I would just like to inform you that you are racist. Before you make a racist comment, never start with “I’m not racist” in the future. I think you are over exaggerating, It really wasn’t that bad. Annie is not a factual event therefore it doesn’t matter that the color of her changes. The most important thing is that it’s a story about a young foster child who gets a family, it has nothing to do with the color. It’s a shame you don’t see that and you only see color and therefore have come to the conclusion that the movie is bad because of the cast.

  6. Katy Rpss says:

    I really enjoyed Annie 2014. I think it was a modern twist on the classic and would like to see more remakes like this. Really good work!!

  7. ashlynn says:

    Well, I watched it half way through. The original is waaay better. (Including casting and songs and just everything. ) I’m by no means a racist, but really? Recasting the whole classical film with african Americans? That’s like making Dorothy from wizard of oz African American. It just ruins the classicness of it all. Or making the huge ass magical man from the green mile a white man. I’m sorry, but stuff like that just ruins it and I apologize if I am offending anyone but I promise I am not a racist. I just think it was not the best move on the directors part. And jamie foxx as daddy warbucks???? (Don’t get me wrong he’s a amazing actor!!! ) but Jesus christ cocome on now!!! Daddy warbucks is an older, very rich man. And fucking CAMERON DIAZ as Miss Hannagon? You have got to be kidding me!!!! First of all, miss hanagan is very homely looking and mean as hell! And Cameron Diaz just doesn’t fit the part. Sorry. Well, on sure our youth will enjoy this film. With all I have said, it does send very important messages. And once again, if I offended anyone I sincerely apologize. That was never ever my intent.

    My opinion is if you’re not watching as a family, don’t even bother. All it will do is piss you off with every scene. How dare they do this to a classical musical film like “Annie”. Oh, another thing. Annie is a 10 year old Red head girl with freckles. Enough said.

  8. Harrow Q says:

    It’s a shame how bad it was because I liked it at first but then it got really boring and didn’t recover. Too much talky talky, not enough singy singy.

    • Nick says:

      I agree, I’m sick of Black remakes of Classic White films, the Original Annie can’t be topped, so why bother, this didn’t come close, and don’t get me started on the Wiz.. If you have that much talent available, then use it to make a good or great film, but don’t try to remake a classic in ebony, it’s never worked, and never will!

  9. Elena says:

    I personally love this movie. It was so much better than the original. The modern take the cast and crew made was such a fun feeling movie. I really am past impressed. I loved the songs, the acting, and the plot line flowed very nicely. ☆Five out of five stars☆

    • mark says:

      No. It was a flop and far worse than the original. Just look at the ratings of the public and critics. Worse! Both rate the movie in the toilet.

      This was not Harold Gray’s Annie, but a ludicrous, insidious imposter.

      • Nick says:

        I agree, I mean seriously how would it be if White Actors remade “Roots”, or “Porgy and Bess”?

  10. S Sanford says:

    Annie was a great movie for kids. The fact that there aren’t many kid friendly movies that come out besides cartoons, if I had a little girl we would have seen this movie more than once.

  11. Rev. Dr.Rebecca Stitt says:

    My grandchildren have seen the movie 3 times. I loved it it was refreshing and family friendly. We are shocked that this movie was snubbed. We are also disappointed that this movie did not get good reviews.

  12. nanastinky says:

    We are HUGE Fans of the original Annie movie. My kids probably watch it at least once a week and have done so their entire lives so far. I didn’t know what to expect. We went in knowing that this was a kids movie (geared toward children), and that it was probably not going to be a copy/replay of the original(because who would accept that?). We just hoped that it would turn out better than the horrible 80’s Annie adventure/flop. We were all pleasantly surprised! It used the name Annie to get the needed attention and loosely held to the cast of characters. The songs were done in completely different styles and only borrowed some of the original lyrics (there were also a few new ones). They held to the no parent, adopted by millionaire theme (but that is really an old, often reused theme).It was different enough so that none of us found ourselves comparing the new to the old. My kids smiled and laughed through most of the movie. I (along with every other mother in our group) found myself tearing up a couple of times, especially during Annie (impromptu) solo “Opportunity”. Overall it was a fun and touching movie and my children(who usually don’t like to sit in the theater very long) immediately asked to see it again. I wasn’t as thrilled with the song little girls (should have changed it a bit more, it left me comparing) and, I think I’m gonna like it here was pretty terrible (they should have left it out completely). Other than that, the music was fun.

    • wiles11 says:

      Yeah, but despite everything you say, you carry a HUGE bias by dint of being a mom and attending with a “group.” Otherwise,this critic is bang on about everything that is blatantly, obviously wrong with this film. That you found so much to like only suggests you’re willing to settle for glossy, ineffectual blandness that won’t challenge your little darlings too much. I was pleasantly surprised how accurately this critic NAILED everything I felt was wrong with it immediately after it ended. One more thing: just because lots of KIDS like it, doesn’t automatically make it good.

  13. Tricia says:

    Soooo disappointed !was excited to take my nieces to see Annie but the lead girl I’ll call her Q” should have studied Ailleen Quinn that little could sing,dance and act this was bad.She was not believable.you mean to tell me they couldn’t find a better actress in LA!!! So what she has an award Booooooo hisssss👎👎👎👎👎

  14. Diego says:

    HET FOR ALL OF YOU THAT THINK THE REMAKE IS RIDICULOUSGUESS WHAT I HAVE SOMETHING WAITING FOR YOU……………WHY DONT YOU STEP INTO MY OVEN

  15. Janice.hallbajek says:

    I am a 62 year old Grandmother, l have followed a lot of remakes in my time this one of the best, Annie was so much fun I will see it again.

  16. noque says:

    I really tried to be open minded about this movie and also I understand the importance of making movies that appeal to the kids accross the race barriers. I wanted to support this movie especially with the racial backlash from people outraged to see a little black girl as annie… so the intention was good, the idea was good, the challenge was there but let’s face it.. it was a total miss, the movie simply isn’t good, worst, it is bad…surely kids will still enjoy it but that’s about it so I guess their mission was accomplished there.
    It just feel like in the name of change and modernization, they hired a bunch of stylist and music producers to make this movie, it is shot like a music video, i counted like 7 references to twitter in the first half. It feels like a few people sat in a room and asked themselve, what are kids into these days? So the story is completely drawned into that chaos… Annie is seen like a little street hustler or something, they are telling kids like it is ok to compromise for a bit of fame and money…she actually goes to live with a stranger just because he is rich at first, not because there is any real emotional connection there.. i mean that is what i got… total miss and i am 28. If I was Quvensanehs manager I would ve said no to this movie because beast of the southern wild was launching her into the path of real acting, great quality movies, complex characters… not this. Surely she will come back from it even though her performance was really really rigid.. i blame it on poor direction… Girl should ve said no like Willow… anyways again kids will enjoy it maybe

  17. Shania says:

    Anyone that gives this movie a bad review is stuck in old ways. And may need to get the fuck out of the 80s. Because this 2014 shit changes damn. Who cares if it wasnt what you expected. Its to entertain who ever enjoys it. I watched this movie 6 times. And me and my brothers loved it. We also seen the original and love that one two. I love musicals period. But just because your were looking for parts of the movie that may be like the original and got dissapointed does not mean you should give this movie such hate. It hurts to read these comments, and knowing that most of these actors had and people involved worked hard on the movie just to be able to male someone laugh and smile. It is just shameful…

  18. Anora says:

    YA know what… I actually enjoyed the film… It was overall a good movie. Sure it’s not like the first one but it’s more modern than the first and updated. It was actually really good and I liked it, even my brother liked it! There are a lot of negative things but I give it four stars and a half!

  19. Serena Angelique says:

    I had low expectations for “Annie.” Very low. But the director should possibly be imprisoned, and he must never be allowed to make another movie again. This film may have the distinction of being both the worst adaptation AND worst remake in the history of terrible adaptations and remakes and everything about it was unforgivable: casting, acting, old songs, new songs. Ms. Wallis is just a little too one dimensional and though she’s not godawful (like Cameron Diaz) she is underwhelming. Jamie Foxx is patently boring. The orphans? Why did they even bother having orphans? They offer absolutely nothing, and are just excess baggage to weigh this clunker down even more (if that’s possible).

    I am a fan of the play, but not so much of the John Huston vehicle with Aileen Quinn in the original movie “Annie. Still, at least that was watchable and not a bleak embarrassment to the material. The John Huston “Annie” had a certain amount of charm as a big budget extravaganza that mostly delivered “something” to its audiences. It was familiar and true to the Tony Award winning show and it stuck to the plot without veering way off into left field like this version, riddled with bogus issues like Annie harboring the terrible secret of being illiterate or having been abandoned at an Italian trattoria called “Domani” (a kind of an aside and nod to the play because domani means “tomorrow” in Italian). This West Village eatery is so high end that no parents who could afford to eat there would not be able to take care of their child. Still every Friday Annie races there to see if her parents will return for her and some cannoli, as if that’s something folks do as an end of the week ritual years after kicking their kid to the curb. It’s not that I even mind the fact that they decided to make Annie Black or set it in modern times. in fact, had it been done right it could have been great, but the changes that have been made here are abysmal at best. Why even call it Annie?

    The plot has so many holes and terrible jokes that it’s truly painful to sit through two hours of such unabashed rot. The new songs are also laughable and so unmemorable that this “Annie” would actually work better as a silent movie. At least it would save us from the frustration of having to listen to the lackluster, hip hop riddled soundtrack that massacres classics like “Tomorrow” or “Little Girls.” Beware of people who indignantly assert “I don’t know why this “Annie” is getting such bad reviews?” I’ll tell you why. It’s because it’s worse than you can imagine! Your child may want to see it, and therefore you may have no other way of getting around it, but there is no other reason on earth to suffer through this hot mess that no adult human or animal should be subjected to.

  20. Sharie says:

    Loved it my 3 grandchildren thought it was the best annie yet and we have seen them all

  21. mel says:

    Long and boring, my little girls did not enjoy it. I did not feel a connection to any of the characters. Annie’s friends were barely there and not all that likeable. Miss Hannigan was awful and that’s putting it nicely. It was mediocre at best and I would not recommend it.

  22. Betty Rubble says:

    O.k. so its not “Sound of Music” but it was FUN. Very colorful, singing, dancing, urban setting, a cute puppy, adorable kids, and Cameron Diaz playing a “train-wreck”. I’ve never seen the original “Annie” was surprized to learn that “Hard Knock Life” was NOT from a Mike Meyers movie. Its a kids movie so adults may “twitch” and look for exits. Kudos to lead Ms. Wallis. Loved it.

  23. loco73 says:

    Much like it recently did with “Exodus: Gods And Kings”, Hollywood’s quest to take one giant dump after another on its sheep-like-audiences, we’ve now gotten and “updated” version of “Annie”.

    You see, ever since Hollywood has pelted and suffocated us with re-makes, reboots, re-boots of reboots, prequels and sequels we didn’t want or ask for…now their newest brainfart, more to do with corporate lingo changes, than actual cinematic substance…is “updated movies”…yeah, that makes about as much sense as George W. Bush as a painter or Fox News being fair and balanced.

    So “Annie”, the latest pointless, senseless and utterly unecessary Hollywood cinematic abortion, will now tug at our heart and purse strings much like a McDonald’s meal does at our immune system…

    Somewhere in a darkened room, in one Sony’s dungeons….errr studio basements, Seth Rogen must be fellating James Franco and crying his eyes out, knowing that HIS mediocre movie “The Interview” was castrated away from movietheares, in favour of even worse excrements like “Annie”…

  24. Janstl says:

    Foxx was horrible. Diaz was horrible. And I found Annie less than endearing. The story dragged and some of the music was mediocre at best. Too bad North Korea didn’t stall this one! I wanted to see the interview too!
    Really, this is a waste of time and money. Try a Netflix night instead.

  25. charlie scott says:

    I’ve seen the play, the 1982 movie, the tv movie and now this. And I’ve read the comics. And this new movie is terrible. It’s poorly acted, directed, filmed. Why the heck was Diaz, who can’t sing, cast where there are dozens of woman of the same age and look who can not only sing but are far better actors.

    Like the TV movie, this one missed the story. They focus too much on the poor kid adopted by a rich guy parts and didn’t pay attention to what made the original story work. Like the sense of utter despair in the whole country because of the Great Depression, Annie’s absolute lack of options for any other life, the simple joy that came from smuggling a dog into the orphanage. Some reviewers say that the 1982 Annie sucked cause she was a far too happy ‘drip’ but that was the point. Kids can be like that. Even when they are sinking in a crap pit many of them do find a way to be happy. and the whole “I think I’m going to like it here” worked because Annie had never even heard of such opulence, much less seen it. It was like being swept up to some magical fantasy land (which is why the servant that seems to do magic actually works). This Annie would have seen such riches on TV etc. and she’s far more conniving which actually ruins the notion of joyful innocence. Had she been more like Quvenzhane’s character in Beasts, the whole thing would have worked better because it would have been closer to the sweet child’s innocence in the midst of literally nothing which is at the heart of the original story.

  26. Fitzzz says:

    Actors must be made aware that when they make political statements(wearing a Treyvon Martin tee)
    it does turn some of the ticket buying public off

  27. harrie says:

    just another attempt to rape an perfectly good classic movie (so when is mary poppins gonna be raped?)

    • vp19 says:

      I’m no PC type by any means, but find your use of the term “rape” distasteful in this context — or, even worse, intentionally trying to provoke, in which case the snotty frat-boy alleged “humor” of Seth Rogen and James Franco is more your speed.

  28. TOM says:

    ‘Annie’ seems like the ‘Dick Tracy’ Christmas present that nobody wants.

  29. filmsharks says:

    Glad to hear an honest review of this rehash. It sounds mediocre at best. I’ll pass on this turkey.

  30. WEHO says:

    More slop from Sony.

  31. Alvie Noelle says:

    I went to an Annie screening this past Saturday in SF. From reading the comments, I’ve noticed no one has mentioned the actual Little Orphan Annie comic strip in their critiques. If anyone had read the comics, they would understand a LOT of the references in this incarnation of Annie.

    I was a Little Orphan Annie fan since the original 1980’s movie. I’ve never seen the play, but after seeing the movie I read & collected the comics in collector books. I also read the biography of Harold Gray, Annie’s comic creator.

    Points to make here:

    1. Sandy’s name has ALWAYS been Sandy. That’s straight from the original comic strip, and has NEVER been from “Hurricane Sandy.”
    2. In both the play and both earlier movies, FDR played a significant cameo as a plot point in Daddy Warbucks’ softening capitalistic heart. FDR wanted Warbucks’ support for one of his work programs (according to the play & earlier movies), which stood opposite Warbucks’ (and creator Harold Gray’s) anti-welfare and anti-child labor laws views. The reason 2014 Annie was giving a report on FDR was the screenwriter’s way of putting FDR into the movie as an homage to his previous physical presence in the earlier material, AND to hint at 2014 Annie’s literacy problem that she cleverly hid by making her “report” a performance piece.
    3. There are other “Homage/Easter Eggs” in the 2014 movie that call back to the comic strip/play/earlier movies, like Will Stacks’ Helicopter, the chase over George Washington Bridge, and even the opponent mayor’s name being “Harold Gray.” Cracked me up that THAT Harold Gray was portrayed as a liberal-type mayor, the antithesis to the real Gray.

    If you know the comic strip, then the movie makes more sense.

    What doesn’t –and will never– make sense, is casting Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan. She was NEVER that man hungry! Money hungry, yes, but not this sloppy. Her “Change of Heart” arc at the end came out of nowhere & had no context, and her portrayal was just a mess.

    Except for Jamie Foxx, who rules all (I don’t care!) and CAN sing, the rest of the cast was …. adequate in their singing. I guess I’m more forgiving of the singing quality here than I was of Les Miserables.

    Finally, for those who are complaining about the new Annie being Black, I’m only going to point out two things: the whitewashing in “Exodus” and the fact that in the first Hunger Games movie, some fans got way pissed off at the casting of Rue as a Black child. Rue, in the book, was described as having dark skin–thus, Rue IS Black in the books. And Katniss was described as “Olive skinned.”

    I enjoy this 2014 Annie movie for what it is: a fun retelling distinct and unique from the original material.

  32. rocky-o says:

    i see alot of responses here dealing with the fact that this new ‘annie’ is black, and that is certainly not surprising, good or bad…what i just don’t get is, why would anyone want to take an iconic character and change it, rather than creating a brand new one…remember the movie ‘akeelah and the bee’…that was a great movie and nobody cared whether the young girl was black or white…but when there are characters in film, literary, and even cartoon history (as is annie) that are primarily created as ‘white’, or like ‘cinderella’, (who brandi portrayed in a remake), it just doesn’t make sense to me to not give a fresh new face to a fresh new character…disney wised up with ‘the princess and the frog’, having a princess who was black, rather than just changing the little mermaid (…and certainly pocahontas had to remain native american instead of something else)…and then there was mulan, one of my all time favorite disney characters…and, if i were oriental, i wouldn’t want to see an oriental james bond…i would want a new spy character created who happened to be oriental…or indian, or spanish, or black, or whatever they happen to be…there have been cool individual characters in every race and nationality…why stop now…

    • Anonymous says:

      The original Annie was portrayed as a red head because at the time most people were very hostile towards the Irish due to immigration, so making the new Annie black makes perfect context in that sense. You should probably not comment, your racism is showing.

      • mary e says:

        And your insecurities, Anonymous…..

      • rocky-o says:

        i’m sorry anonymous, but it has nothing to do with race…it has to do with creation…as a writer, if i create a character who is black, white, tall, short, smokes, afraid of heights, likes ‘gilligan island’ reruns, athiest, pastor, male, female, giraffe, whatever…that is what they should remain…i would hate to create a character that, let’s say, was created for and portrayed perfectly by pam grier, only to find out that, in the reboot, they gave it to matt damon…

    • Vandy says:

      I’m sorry, but I can’t handle it. I’m sure you meant well, but people are not Oriental. Things like rugs that are from “the orient” may be called Oriental. If you don’t know which part of Asia someone is from, then they are Asian. But if you do, you say it. As in – Mulan is Chinese.

      Some of your argument makes sense and some does not. You couldn’t change the nationality of many of the fairy tales your bring up because it’s part of the story. Pocahontas is about Native Americans. Mulan is a Chinese fable. Cinderella is French. But Annie is the story of industrialized America. Her story is about being caught in the system and finding your heart again. American culture isn’t based on any race. It’s based on the fact that we are all from somewhere else. It’s about being self-made. So it doesn’t matter what skin color Annie is to make the story.

    • John says:

      Exactly. If they created a NEW story about a modern foster child in New York City. And even maybe referenced Annie in the movie and were very upfront about it being “Annie Inspired” people would have NO problem with this movie.

      However, this movie takes a 100 year old character who has a VERY iconic look – and changes her image. That is where it becomes flawed. If Annie was played by a white BRUNETTE I promise you people would still be upset.

  33. Nora knob says:

    I hope it flops hard. Teach them to mess with beloved classics and try make them all PC and multi-racial. My biggest memory of Annie was the red mop of hair. Its an iconic image and they just threw it out the window as though it was irrelevant.

    • James says:

      And the first Annie was multi racial? So there can be white movies but no black movies? And if there is all black movies they have to be multi racial movies? You made a dumb comment because obviously THIS MOVIE is multi racial because Cameron Diaz and other people from different race play in this movie. Stupid post.

      • mary e says:

        Don’t embarrass yourself….a new movie starring this incredibly talented child would have been a blockbuster. Too bad.

  34. Goodbyenoway says:

    The 1982 film is a disaster. A low point in almost all the careers of those associated with it. John Huston hated making it and the end product. That said, the new one is far worse mostly because they messed with the score.

    • Nora knob says:

      a disaster that so many people remember fondly? Hmm thats not my idea of a disaster. Nobody will remember this version thats for sure. A true disaster.

  35. Goodbyenoway says:

    I think some commenting here are smoking dope. Or can’t read or comprehend the written language.
    No one cares if Annie is played by a black actress. What matters is that she’s played by a good actress in a good film. That isn’t the case in this film. Is that so hard to understand?

    • thedude187 says:

      How about reading those comments again, Goodbynoway….

      December 14, 2014 at 1:48 pm
      The 1982 film is a disaster. A low point in almost all the careers of those associated with it. John Huston hated making it and the end product. That said, the new one is far worse mostly because they messed with the score.

    • Nora knob says:

      actually many peple care that she’s suddenly black. maybe you should read the comment boards a bit more?

  36. mickrussom says:

    I watched the screener today. I can say this. Only the girl, Quvenzhané Wallis, is notable. I must say her name is rather absurd but that’s not her fault.

    Cameron Diaz performance is one of the worst I have ever seen by someone who claims to be a professional actor. It is seriously ridiculous this was allowed to happen. I would imagine a computer generated performance with an algorithm simulating a cranky woman would give a better performance than Cameron.

    From the beginning politics and lies start. While FDR has been protected from serious analysis due to his extreme popularity amongst the older people willing to defend him even if this includes bending the truth, one cannot say the entire FDR set of policies are perfect or what Annie was saying was true. I find it interesting that she is a ward of the state but her life is hard knock and in the words of another orphan, sucks. These very programs are government programs, so we have a sucky orphan existence as a ward of the state but we have her worshiping the grandfather of big government? It sounds like the government and this movie are simply parroting NEWSPEAK in a way that indoctrinates.

    I don’t see Jamie Foxx’s performance as genuine. His thick ghetto accent coupled with his role as billionaire and potential mayor is ridiculous. I also find it offensive that his corrupt minions are of course of a certain background. Seems the theme here is corruption is white.

    I also find it amusing the government bureaucrat scum harassing Annie has a broken English accent and basically treats a child like dog meat. This is another government minion who got one of those government jobs created from nothing by fiat. And we see here that those very same employees are rats.

    I don’t get what the theme or message is here. Its very plastic. The theme was set from the get go that FDR created jobs by fiat, but every instrument of government in this movie is a slap in the face of Annie.

    I find also the movie’s music to be totally inferior. Its pseudo rap/pseudo hip hop. Its a false urban hatcheting of the original set of songs. I also noticed a lot of using of vocoding/auto-tuning here. Which is insulting to the ear and simply lazy.

    The dance choreography was really horrific. The dancing during the “I Think I’m Going to Like it Here” ensemble was childish. They spend big money on this remake – I heard north of 50 million.

    Anyways as usual the Hollywood crowd has has destroyed a childhood memory by injecting class war, race and politics into a movie which could have been great especially Q. Wallis seems quite talented despite this movie’s best efforts to make her look the fool.

    • vp19 says:

      Ah, more silly comments from the “everything is ideology” crowd. “Annie” apparently has plenty of problems, but its views on government policy almost certainly are among the least of them.

    • H.M. says:

      Wooo Nellie…sounds like you have more issues than Time magazine.

    • jhs39 says:

      Wow–this is one of the most moronic and stupidly politicized comments on a movie that I have ever seen. You apparently think Annie is a good place to attack government programs because, as you perceive it through the very narrow lens of conservative stupidity, Annie’s life as an orphan doesn’t suck because she has no parents and nobody to care for her–it sucks because government provide a roof over her head under the misplaced idea that it has some sort or responsibility to children who have nowhere to live and nothing to eat. You are the personification of modern conservative stupidity–you see anything and everything through a political lens and don’t even have the intelligence to make a strong argument in support of what you believe or recognize how pathetically small minded and ill informed you sound. Stick to the Fox News website and Rush Limbaugh–when you have to interact with people who don’t believe the exact same things you do it clearly doesn’t come out well for you.

  37. Goodbyenoway says:

    I could care less about the color of the Annie. Black Annie. Green Annie. White Annie. Doesn’t matter. Good Annie matters. It’s not in this film. She sucks, the whole movie sucks. Period. Stop making it about race. Make good movies. Period.

    • jhs39 says:

      You basically spent your entire post insisting that you didn’t care about Annie’s race while talking about nothing but Annie’s race and how much you didn’t care about it. Good job!

  38. Jonathan Brown says:

    To all of the people who say “It’s the worst film” really have no life and just mad that the main characters (except Miss. Hannigan) are African-American. I actually likes this movie. In my opinion, I think this movie was better than the 1999 “Annie” film. To all of the people saying that Hollywood shouldn’t have black people as a remake of a original film are actually wrong. The original “Wizard Of Oz” was remade to “The Wiz” featuring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. “The Wiz” actually had more success than the original film. We had the original “Cinderella” film. Hollywood did a remake of the original film with Brandy as the main character and it had success. “African-American” remakes of original movies have had the same amount of success as original movies. So, all of the doubters/movie critics should just shut up. The name of the dog “Sandy” was not named by “Hurricane” or “Superstorm” Sandy. The dog’s name is the 1999 film was named “Sandy.” SMH. I hate it when people are putting HATE on a movie, like get a life and do something else. Racism is also still alive because when there is a movie featuring “Caucasian” people like “Twilight” or “Hunger Games” many people (even black people)come to watch it. But when an “African-American” movie comes out, many racists say that the movie is going to be horrible because there “Black” people in the movies and they should go back to “Africa.” Why are racists telling us to go back to “Africa”, if their ancestors kidnapped our ancestors, brung them to America and tortured us with whips, chopping hands/feet off, and killing us. Like what did “African-Americans” do to you harmfully that made you do racist things. Like get a life. Care about your own-self and stop trying to hurt other races because trying to hurt other races isn’t working. We have an “African-American” president. We have rich and powerful people from other races other than “Caucasian.” So, to all of the racists in the world who don’t like should just commit suicide, go to hell, and burin in there. All of the previous comments should just shut up and deal with it because they can’t do anything to stop it or don’t have enough power to stop it. “African-American” people and many other races can just have the same success as “Caucasian” people.

    • Tammy says:

      I understand you are hurt, but even hurt people don’t make up huge lies about something everybody knows about, I was old enough in the 70s to see The Wiz, but it is simply a huge overstatement to call it more famous than the original. Same goes to Cinderella… To anybody in the whole wild world, Both timeless movies bring one first thought to mind: Judy Garland holding her dog toto say “no pace like home” and a cartoon character being transformed into a gala princess by a fairy godmother.
      Sorry.

    • Nora knob says:

      did you seriously just say The Wiz had more success than The Wizard of OZ? Dear God give me strength.

    • jhs39 says:

      You lost me when you claimed that The Wiz was a more successful movie than The Wizard of Oz–the original film wasn’t a big hit in its original release but became a huge success in subsequent re-releases and home video and is one of the most beloved family movies ever produced by Hollywood. The Wiz was a box office flop that very few people consider a classic. The Wizard of Oz made more money theatrically than The Wiz just in limited theatrical releases between 1989 and 2013–that’s not counting any of The Wizard of Oz’s actual wide releases in 1939, 1949 and 1955. Since you posted a reply to a review on Variety.com I can only assume that you know there is a thing called the internet that allows you to quickly fact check dumb statements before you make them.

  39. Mark says:

    Strange that most of the comments complain about casting the main role with an African American girl? This is hardly an all-Black remake. It’s just two characters. And they say we have advanced in race relations? What a joke.

    • James says:

      Exactly what I said. Smh it’s because most of these people on here racist and don’t want see black people doing anything when there is a lot of all white movies that don’t involve not one black person in it! But complaining about Annie being a black girl. So yes this is a joke.

  40. ETEXEC says:

    Cameron Diaz is 100% headed to Razzie town. Her performance is grade-F, career-destroying work. CAA better start working on the separation letter. For that matter, so should Will Gluck’s representation. After this turkey, he will be a leper around town.

    In fact, I hope that no one involved in this movie ever works in Hollywood again. Even the 1982 movie misfire at least understood that all the shiny, happy-go-lucky pastiche of musical numbers like “Tomorrow” and “Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” stood in stark, ironic contrast to the horrific context of the Great Depression. This movie version doesn’t give a F*** (the bright, shiny New York that Annie jaunts through in the opening credits appears to be an extension of Sesame Street and has no actual basis in reality), and instead aims for pure, syrupy confection, with overproduced, bombastic musical numbers and an autotune budget bigger than Cher’s and Li’l Wayne’s PUT TOGETHER.

    The biggest disappointment is that Annie is due for a refresh, what with the income divide wider now than at any point in history. I don’t dislike that Annie is black or that the cast is multi-culti, but this film is so tone-deaf and tonally deaf. This film is ignorant cancer. It’s that offensive.

    If you take your children to see this movie, please leave your contact information with the usher, because they are contractually obligated to report you to Child Protective Services for being a truly mendacious, horrible parent.

  41. Yo mama says:

    I would love it if they remade Roots, or 12 Years a Slave, but with other races. Maybe with a Polish Jews perspective in 1940? Or you could use Indian characters who are now slaves in Dubai? Face it, making an old movie that had nothing to do with a particular race and remaking it to fit a black audience is racist. Same with The Wiz. Why can’t there just be a normal black movie without it sounding like Al Sharpton wrote it?

    • jhs39 says:

      Annie wasn’t remade for a black audience unless you think all movies starring black actors should be avoided. Other than the characters of Annie and Daddy Warbucks most of the cast is white or Hispanic.

  42. cadavra says:

    In the very first episode of BOSTON LEGAL, Al Sharpton–playing himself–petitions the court to rule in favor of a black Annie (“Not ‘Tomorrow’–Today!”). I wonder if someone watched that and thought, “Hey, that’s a great idea!” Somewhere David E. Kelley must be laughing his ass off.

    • vp19 says:

      Can we find a deserted island for ambulance chasers Al Sharpton and Gloria Allred? They diminish genuine problems of racism and sexism by instead making it all about them instead, and wish those who are involved in such problems would tell them to go to help and look for other spokespersons.

      As far as the 2014 “Annie” is concerned, her color is irrelevant to me, but it appears this movie is a disjointed mess.

      • cadavra says:

        You clearly haven’t seen the episode in question. The tone was comedic and Sharpton was playing a self-caricature. I’m no fan of him, either, but he at least has a sense of humor about himself, using comedy to make a very real point about latent racism.

  43. jnf663 says:

    I am sure this movie is bad, but Sandy is not named after the hurricane. Sandy’s been the name of her dog since the original Harold Gray comics in the 30s.

  44. skep41 says:

    John Huston was one of the greatest American directors. Carol Burnett was one of America’s foremost comediennes. Remaking ‘Annie’ when it has been done so well shows the absolute intellectual bankruptcy of the corporate robots who said ‘yes’ to this hopeless enterprise. What next? What century-old, overdone, mindless, soulless remake will these hacks waste their money on next? Big is truly the opposite of Cool and these giant corporate entities’ attempts to create what they call ‘product’ and market it as ‘art’ are always doomed to failure. Art is a product of risk. Risk is anathema to these bean-counters, which ensures they will fail. No risk in that…it’s a certainty and this movie proves it.

    • jhs39 says:

      If you go through John Huston’s long filmography he probably made at least five mediocre to bad ones for every good film. The obvious thing you seem to be missing is that John Huston made movies in the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s, all decades where movie musicals were very popular and John Huston never made one. His first and only musical was the Annie film in 1982 and he proved to be a terrible choice to direct a musical, even with The Maltese Falcon and Treasure of the Sierra Madras on his resume. The 1999 made for TV version directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago) was a big improvement over John Huston’s lead-footed theatrical version.

  45. Goodbyenoway says:

    This would make my list of the Top Ten Worst Films I’ve seen in my life. Hollywood doesn’t know how to make musicals anymore from awful Chicago which seemed like a choppy music video to this latest abomination. They don’t seem to get they need to cast people who can sing and/or dance. And writers and directors who understand musicals. All are absent here.

  46. Pat says:

    No Thanks.

  47. jeff says:

    i am sorry but i will not go see this annie. there has been a good many remakes of annie and none have toped the one with carol burnet and alber finney in it.

    • jhs39 says:

      I thought the 1999 made for TV version easily topped the one with Albert Finney.

      • macd says:

        Agreed! I was lucky enough to see “Annie” on its Broadway opening night, and I loved it. Andrea McArdle will forever be the definitive Annie. The vulgar 1982 film version was doomed the minute Columbia hired John Huston to direct it; even Albert Finney & Carol Burnett couldn’t save this disaster. So I was shocked by how good the 90-minute (commercials excluded) 1999 TV-movie was. Nor do I recall anyone even noticing that the superb Audra McDonald played the female lead (thereby implying that her relationship with Daddy Warbucks was an interracial romance). But for my money, the 1999 “Annie” was perfect, and there was absolutely no need for another remake, especially one as rotten as this one.

      • Matthew says:

        The TV version was HORRIBLE. Miss Hannigan being nice to Annie, pretending to be her mother instead of Lily, and getting sent to the mental hospital in the end was unforgivable. Annie being turned into yet another Passive Disney Girl who probably couldn’t survive a minute in the streets of Depression-era New York was just as bad. And they wore the radio show down to a nub. I won’t mention the complete lack of sexual chemistry between Victor Garber and Audra McDonald (since when does Grace Farrell sing “Tomorrow”). Do you really believe this guy would marry a black woman in 1933? Today, it’s conceivable. Then, doubtful. He never would have been able to do business in the South again and might even have had to leave the country. It’s insulting to one’s intelligence to put this film in an alternate-reality 1930s America where the stigma against interracial relationships never existed, especially when it’s a period piece. And where’s FDR? What happened to Hooverville? He shows up at the end seemingly out of nowhere. And of the six songs from the play the movie left out, only two were put back. And they forgot it used to be a musical COMEDY. The whole point of that production was to offer a more faithful complement to the 1982 film, but they still made changes. Stupid ones. Changes to stuff even John Huston had the good sense to leave alone. It was one of the most excruciating 90 minutes I’d ever spent in my life.

        This new one is worse, though. It looks like they threw out the baby, the bathwater and the bathtub. I’ve only seen two of the clips that made it to YouTube and I was horrified. They just keep getting progressively worse with each new adaptation.

  48. Glenn C. says:

    No way! Better things to do.

    • sehcoop says:

      I saw this movie and can honesty say it was entertaining. It is kinda sad that so many of us take something like a movie so serious, when it is just a movie. I only wish that we all could use such skills to solve the problems of the world. Maybe they will make a movie one day with that theme!

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