ANNIE – Rated PG

Annie2014Poster

Director Will Glueck takes a classic 1982 film and brings it into the 21st century with all the star-power and modern day finesse imaginable, as we travel the road of orphan/turned foster kid in 2014’s version of ANNIE!

When we meet Annie (played by the youngest Academy Award nominee EVER for best actress in 2014, Quvenzhané Wallis) she is trying to make her way on the streets of New York City in hopes of catching a glimpse of her parents at the restaurant Domani. When once again her parents don’t arrive at the restaurant, Annie is forced to return to her foster home and to her mean and evil Foster Mom, Ms. Hannigan (Cameron Diaz).

Even though she loves being with her foster sisters Tessie, Mia, Issabella, and Pepper, Annie continues to search for her parents, as she knows it is only a matter of time before they come to get her.

During one of her excursions around town, she is saved from being hit by Mayoral Candidate and business tycoon Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), whose campaign manager Guy (Bobby Cannavale) sees lots of opportunities with using Annie in their campaign, after the video of Stacks pulling Annie from the street – just in the nick of time – goes viral.

When Stacks VP Grace (Rose Byrne) invites Annie to come stay with Stacks for a few weeks, as his campaign against the incumbent mayor is heating up, Annie finds that a world filled with privilege – and an awesome new dog named Sandy – plus the father figure she has been longing for her whole life, might just be the right fit for her after all….

I give ANNIE a B+: I absolutely loved the 1982 version of this film, so I have to admit going in I was a little bit skeptical of this remake. But as remakes go, Glueck did a superb job of tweaking the story just right by adding a few new songs and plot twists, making this film fresh and new. Annie this time around is sassier, more worldly, and as always, very entertaining – as Academy Award nominee Quvenzhané Wallis is absolutely perfect in this role. And how can you not love seeing Jamie Foxx dance and sing – as I had forgotten how well he really does sing since DREAMGIRLS – and who doesn’t love Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale this time around too, as they are perfectly cast in their respective roles. The only role I wasn’t totally sold on was Cameron Diaz playing Ms. Hannigan. I love Cameron, but her playing the mean spirited Foster Mom didn’t work for me at all – Don’t worry Carol Burnett, Cameron didn’t outplay your most memorable part ever, so you will always be Ms. Hannigan in my eyes, but as movies go, and even remakes for that matter, ANNIE is a definite must see for your family this Holiday Season! You will once again be touched by the little girl with big dreams and a big heart as a new generation is brought to tears – including my 14 year old at the advanced screening she joined me for – and even though it has been getting really bad reviews, personally, I really did enjoy it – whether it’s the mother in me, or the musical lover in me, whatever it was doesn’t really matter –I found it very entertaining. This ANNIE will touch viewers both young and old – just like the Original did – and you can take my word on that!

KATHY KAISER