Review: Annie is the adorable cheesefest 2014 needed

As individual components, pieces of the newest adaptation of Annie make me squeal with glee. It’s a musical; check. Jamie Foxx is in it; check. Cameron Diaz is playing a horrible trashtastic foster mother; check. Rose Byrne is there too; check. New York; check. How can I not love this film, right? Well look. Here’s the thing. I didn’t not like it. It’s just not the blockbuster musical film I had dreamed about.

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The songs were average, even the traditional Annie classics that got a revamp. Tomorrow was weirdly backlit by a pretty boring keyboard, and really, the only song I got really jazzed about was Sia’s Never Dressed Without a Smile which was only used as score, rather than as a featured song. Jamie Foxx’s power ballad in the helicopter was camp as fuck, as was Cameron Diaz’s Little Girls. Quvenzhane’s solo at the gala (Opportunity) was a standout in terms of the actor’s songs. I’m not sure if she sang or was dubbed, but that was one of the only songs I got a interested in. In all, I didn’t care much about the musical part of the musical film.

Individually the cast is enough to make my eyes water. Jamie Foxx (my ovaries are dancing), Cameron Diaz (my heart is dancing), Rose Byrne (my soul is dancing) and of course, the wondrous Quvenzhane Wallis (who you’ll remember from Beasts of the Southern Wild). The chemistry between Foxx (Mr Stacks) and Wallis (Annie) is the best part of the film in my opinion, but Rose Byrne and Cameron Diaz – who I will adore forever for their roles in The Rage in Placid Lake and Charlie’s Angels et al respectively – waded their way through pretty over the top roles. Diaz’s foster mother Colleen Hannigan is an insanely washed up pop star who is bitter and only fostering to earn her measly $157 a week, and is just… yeah wow. She’s so OTT it made me cringe. Her redemption is also kind of shallow too, which makes the ending a little bland.
The lovely Grace (played by Byrne) is also slightly off when she begins to majorly overshare incredibly personal details within four seconds of meeting Annie? It’s supposed to be a building block to show that Grace and Annie’s friendship is important – nay, integral – but it just ends up flipping Byrne’s character on its head; where once we saw Grace being firmly in control of Stacks and of herself, she turned into a vaguely eccentric creepy cat lady. It was strange.

OH MY GOD! I nearly forgot Bobby Cannavale (who happens to be my dream Morrelli if any of you know your Stephanie Plum novels [also omfg I just discovered is dating Rose Byrne! *cue squee*]). Bobby plays Stacks’ campaign manager who will stop at nothing to see Stacks become New York’s new mayor. His duet with Cameron Diaz is actually kind of terrifyingly perfect and seeing Diaz dance in any capacity is good for my wellbeing. He’s excellently cast.

Anyway, it’s a bit of a cheeseball of fun if you can look past some blindingly cringe-worthy bits and pieces.

I’m going to give it five tomorrows out of ten.

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