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29 December 2014 @ 03:04 pm
Picoreview: Annie  

Picoreview: Annie: Not as good as I hoped it would be; possibly not even quite as good as I thought it would be from the lukewarm reviews.

I wanted this film to knock it out of the park. Instead it hit maybe a double, and that’s pretty nearly literally as far as I can take a baseball analogy so I’ll stop now. O.O :)

It was reasonably cute, with a too-long running time. There were some amusing antics and a handful of lines that made me laugh aloud. It’s not a movie that would keep Young Indiana’s attention for the whole film, which is too bad, but I’d say probably the 6-10 age group would be up for it.

Jamie Foxx is the only person in the cast who can really *sing*, and by the time he was six measures into his first song I had readjusted my hope for a modern Guys & Dolls and thrown Hugh Jackman out in favour of Foxx as Sky Masterson (although in either case they need to film it immediately, because they’re both on the edge of aging out of the role).

Back on the topic of Annie, Quvenzhane Wallis wasn’t bad as a singer, and had miles of charm to make up for the minor vocal lack. Her “Tomorrow” was actually a lot more poignant than I remember the 1980s version of the song being. Overall she makes the film worth watching: she’s pretty terrific, even if the overall movie falls flat.

Cameron Diaz was flat-out awful, both vocally and in performance. Not like “oh her character is an awful person and I hate her,” but like “she was really badly cast in this role and totally failed to succeed with it.”

There were a few stand-out characters in the supporting cast, though: the limo driver, the local shop owner, and the oldest of the girls in Annie’s foster home were all especially good. Particularly the oldest girl, who had very few lines and was mostly supposed to be sullen, so the fact that she made a favorable impression is really admirable.

Anyway, it wasn’t anything like as stellar as I hoped, but I enjoyed it well enough, and it’s probably excellent fare for those with kids just a little older than mine.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

philippos42 on December 31st, 2014 07:56 am (UTC)
What little I saw of previews wasn't giving me a lot of hope. Shallow and broad acting?
kitmizkit on December 31st, 2014 08:12 am (UTC)
Most particularly from Diaz, who was genuinely awful. And I *like* her, as a rule.

I read somebody somewhere saying Foxx phoned it in, but I thought he was just fine, really, and he sure can sing (I knew he could, but still!). Rose Byrne's part was badly written but she did as much with it as she could; Foxx's lawyer was shallow and broadly written but he was at least *supposed* to be, and he did a pretty credible job with it, all things considered.

I thought Quvenzhane Wallis was pretty good. I mean, it's a 10 year old playing a 10 year old, so it's not a great stretch, and there were bobbles, but they had as much to do with flatly written lines as anything else. The whole bit with her 'parents' was completely unbelieveable, and I can't figure out if it was supposed to be or not, but she displayed some really good understated emotion in some of the more heartwrenching scenes.

So a seriously mixed bag. I...okay, I have an agenda, frankly. I want it to do well because I want more mainstream movies with little black girls (and boys, and adults) as leads. So I want to tell you to go see it, for the box office. Whether it's actually worth it verges on debatable. :)
silkiemom on January 2nd, 2015 08:48 am (UTC)
We took the kids to see it before Christmas. We voted on which movie to see and it beat out Penguins of Madagascar and the third Hobbit movie and a rewatch of Big Hero 6.

I thought it was a reasonably cute remake of a musical. Pretty much what it said on the tin. A few cute references along the way, the songs we wanted to hear, and a happy ending. The kids enjoyed it. Definitely not too long for older kids. Who are into musicals. And willing to be meta about it.

The most annoying thing about the movie was sending Kate to clean the living room the next day and hearing her sing, "It's a hard knock life!" Hmph. Ingrate.
kitmizkit on January 2nd, 2015 08:52 am (UTC)
*laughs* You kinda walked into that, though. :)
Miss Mayvalancymay on January 4th, 2015 03:56 am (UTC)
Your review is exactly the same as mine would be.

Also, I kept wishing they'd hired Kristen Chenowith to play Miss Hannigan. She could have easily played the same vibe (and did, on Glee) while actually being able to sing.
kitmizkit on January 4th, 2015 08:25 am (UTC)
I haven't seen enough of Glee to know who Kristen Chenowith is, but she could not possibly have been more miscast in the role than Diaz was, so I too shall wish she had been cast instead :)
Miss Mayvalancymay on January 4th, 2015 07:38 pm (UTC)
She was also the original Broadway Glinda in Wicked, and she was on the West Wing for a while as well. Oh! And Pushing Daisies, where she would occasionally break into song. She's a comedian and a singer.
kitmizkit on January 4th, 2015 07:42 pm (UTC)
I have seen none of those things. Clearly I'm a failure. :) But it sounds like she would have been much better suited for the role. Somebody said, well, Carol Burnett is a hard act to follow, which is true, but I honestly couldn't remember who'd played the role in the last Annie movie. It wasn't a comparison, it's just that Diaz was *awful*.
Miss May: me blanchmalvalancymay on January 4th, 2015 07:43 pm (UTC)
She was truly, truly terrible. And I knew she would be.