Welcome back to Musical Week!
The realest reason for Musical Week is that this December had two musicals coming out only a week apart, which meant I only had to find 3 more. Into The Woods was yesterday, and Annie is today!
When I first heard there was an Annie remake, I was mostly indifferent. I didn’t know if we needed a new one, but hey okay. But when I heard she wouldn’t be a tap dancing ginger, but a BLACK GIRL? I was still mostly indifferent. At least there was a change for the remake so that it wasn’t just rehashed material. It would allow them to do a more modern version, not one set in the way back early times.
But then I saw the first trailer. I knew something was weird and different and off from it. And it is an unfortunate change. But one I will clickbait tactic and wait to talk about at the end of the review.
And it isn’t just that when I do this dance, I always look like I have to take a pouty poop.
Little Orphan Annie (Quvenshane Wallis). No, wait, fuck that. She is just a foster kid, not an orphan. She has parents, she just doesn’t know who they are or when they will be back for her. She just knows that maybe, one day, she will see them on a Friday night at a local Italian restaurant eating cannolis.
But while being chased one day by some jerks, she falls in the street and almost gets run over! But thankfully, a man is there to pick her up and chastise her. That man is Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), the owner of a NYC based phone company that is hugely successful, so he is totally rich, and he is also running for mayor! He isn’t doing that great though. He is super behind. Well, footage goes out of him saving Little Foster Girl Annie on the internets, which gives him a bump up. His campaign manager (Bobby Cannavale) convinces him that if he temporarily takes Annie in and make him seem more charitable.
Annie is a free going individual who understands this is just for publicity, and she is cool with that. Getting to live in a rich house for a few weeks? Hells yeah. She doesn’t want him for a dad anyways, she wants her real parents, who will totally come eventually. Maybe tomorrow even. Or the tomorrow after that.
What could go wrong? Also featuring Rose Byrne, Cameron Diaz, David Zayas, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Stephanie Kurtzuba.
No, trust me, I counted them. Definitely 76 trombones.
Let’s talk about…pop music. Some of it is good, a lot can be bad, even more of it is catchy. That is what this version of Annie is, for the most part. Just pop music broadway. And that is my major complaint. The songs don’t feel as natural as musicals usually strive for. It didn’t have that extra bellow or personality behind the notes that made me care about the lyrics and not just nod my head to a tune. Kids in general like all kinds of music, so a different sound to all of the sounds doesn’t feel warranted.
This is the second thing I have seen Wallis in, the first being Beasts Of Southern Wild, which I kind of hated. She is fine as Annie. She really is. She has charisma and she is charming and she carries that strong independent feeling with her the whole movie.
Everyone else? Ehhh. Byrne did decent. Diaz only annoyed me.
And Foxx. Come on, Foxx. I know you can sing. I remember Gold Digger quite vividly. Was your role in that song fake? I am starting to believe it. You had passion in your lines and feeling in your voice. Every song with Jaime Foxx is terrible. His voice is ridiculously soft for most of them, so I felt like I had to strain to hear him and there is just nothing of substance behind any of them. I kind of felt he was just talking his lines. Maybe they accidentally put in the mumble take? They are just down right terrible.
But you know what bugs me the most? The finale, when they re-did Tomorrow? Despite how terrible I thought the music was in the movie and thus how bad the movie was, it still made me tear up. Just a little bit. Great lyrics can do that. Balloons help.
So who is to blame for this? Will Smith and Jay-Z. They are producers, must be their fault.
1 out of 4.