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Annie Review

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When bubbly 11 year-old Annie (Wallis) goes to live with curmudgeonly billionaire and mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Foxx) as his ward, changes are soon afoot. The cranky politico is soon swapping breakfast meetings for breakdancing...

★★★★★

As an attempt to update the li’l orphan musical from its original 1933 setting, this is half shrewd twists and half clomping missteps. Quvenzhané Wallis is pure sunny determination as the girl — now a foster kid — who melts the heart of stiff tech billionaire Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx); the ‘popifying’ of the original numbers doesn’t hurt them a bit, and adding a new bad guy in Stacks’ slimy PR man (Bobby Cannavale) gives a hit of modernity. However, the new songs are duds and the sickly redemption of Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz, battling ceaselessly against insurmountable miscasting) ruins a terrific villain and confuses the ending. Casting stars that are not confident singers lets the air out of some of the gutsier numbers and Will Gluck’s fondness for close-ups and rapid editing doesn’t give them much scale or flow.

A mushy mix of sentiment and some off-key singing lets the air out of this beloved musical's limo tires.

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