'Annie' is a hard knock, no fun adaptation of original.

AuthorBahr, Lindsey
PositionLiving - Movie review

Byline: Lindsey Bahr



A Sony release

Rating: PG for some mild language and rude humor

Running time: 1 hour, 58 minutes

It's impossible to talk about "Annie'' without admitting up front when you first experienced John Huston's 1982 film.

For adults at the time, it was a spectacular disaster, thanks in large part to the bizarre direction of Huston. For kids, one of whom was me, it might as well be up there with "The Sound of Music'' as a musical classic. This is why kids don't write movie reviews but it also helps to remind that sometimes it won't even occur to them that the movie they're watching is bad.

In that way, perhaps this new version of "Annie'' is the update we all deserve: a flawed movie that kids will inexplicably take to. But, with such a wealth of innovative and heartfelt family fare in both the animated and live-action realms, why bother?

The best that can be said of this new version is that Will Gluck and company have certainly made the story, and most of the songs, their own. But, aside from originality points, this new "Annie'' is a charmless and grossly materialistic bore, especially for now-adults of a certain age who still hold the '82 version in high regard.

"Annie'' has always been a strange beast, with its grand New Deal politics juxtaposed with the tale of a rich savior taking in a plucky orphan. Here, Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) is a foster kid living with a handful of preteen girls under the lazy supervision of Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) in her Harlem apartment.

Diaz, channeling an early Christina Aguilera with her cheap hoop earrings and messily crimped hair, talk-yells at the girls with such an unnatural shrill that it fails at being cruel, comedic, or drunken. This is no Carol Burnett slapstick.

But nothing actually seems that bad for Annie. She and her foster friends are all clothed and fed and attending clean, friendly schools. They even seem to mostly like Hannigan, except when she makes them clean. A hard knock life, indeed.

This is not the dire, hopeless situation of a blighted Depression-era orphanage. Still, Annie wants out and is determined to find the parents she believes exist. Fine, fair.

On one of...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT