LOS ANGELES — While there are several probable good reasons to reconstitute a Depression-set low-pitched “Annie” in 2014, nothing of them seem to have sensitive Will Gluck’s artificial nonetheless undernourished treatment. More of a facelift than an update, a pic dusts off some aged songs, adds a few disconnected stabs during new ones and stuffs a support with glossy upscale gadgets that roar “modern.” Featuring a multiracial all-star expel with few pretensions to dancing expertise, a film replaces choreography with metronomic editing, while one-note exaggeration drowns out impression development. Even though a Sony hacking liaison that caused it to trickle online early, “Annie” would seem headed for a muted Christmas bow.
The film starts promisingly with a pre-credits method wherein Gluck acknowledges a apparent together between a Great Depression and a now widening rich/poor divide: A schoolroom show-and-tell produces a standard-issue, red-haired “Annie A,” usually to reinstate her with an afro’d “Annie B.”
Wallis’ Annie deduction to control a category in an interactive chronological opening square celebrating FDR’s New Deal, no less. But this spirit of modern-day tough times, it turns out, is evoked usually to be treated as a old-fashioned conceit.
In Gluck’s 21st-century version, Annie lives with other girls not in an institution though in a Harlem encourage home run by bitter, alcoholic Colleen Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), wailing her unsuccessful career as a backup singer. Poverty, in this squeaky-clean Gotham, relies wholly on waste set decoration; a rodent underneath a pure cosmetic play looks some-more like an artifact than an tangible inhabitant of Miss Hannigan’s apartment.
Racing by a streets for her dog, Sandy (here named after a hurricane, in an definitely remaining instance of contemporization), Annie careens into a film’s reincarnation of Daddy Warbucks, aka Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), a cell-phone billionaire using for mayor, who absentmindedly saves her from an approaching car. When a video of a rescue goes viral, Stacks’ opportunistic debate manager (Bobby Cannavale) arranges a print event with a darling moppet, that Annie savvily parlays into room and house in sell for destiny print ops.
Stacks reluctantly installs her in his magnificent penthouse, where Annie; Stacks’ British advisor, Grace (Rose Byrne); and a Russian-accented social-services proxy (an glorious Stephanie Kurtzuba) delightedly dance and screech over any instance of exile opulence. The rest of a tract roughly follows a original, with Annie bringing her law confidence to bear on a obsessions and sourness of those around her, dispensing epiphanies and extenuation shelter with a peep of a smile.
Wallis conveys a appetite and perkiness of her impression convincingly and charmingly, though lacks even a spirit of a recklessness that lies behind a belted-out gigantic deferral of “Tomorrow.” Indeed, a whole film lacks any clarity of misery over a elementary deficiency of luxury. Unlike a New York of Sidney Lumet’s likewise location-transplanted “The Wiz,” Gluck’s Gotham competence as good be Toronto, with Stacks’ private helicopter swooping among a glossy potion skyscrapers as nonetheless another reward of a high life.
The behaving in ubiquitous tends toward a one-note and over-the-top. Foxx, a film’s usually performer with endless singing knowledge onscreen, wisely opts for understatement, though Diaz’s slutty sot rants on unchecked, her falling-down-drunk numbers as unchoreographed as her would-be comic pieces are feeble directed. Byrne’s line readings verge on a surreal as she attempts to demonstrate Grace’s career-gal loneliness by overprotesting her contentment, and Cannavale’s dirty-tricks politico creates for a weak villain. Only David Zayas’ spin as Miss Hannigan’s evermore abandoned though defiantly working-class swain brings a plausible if uncomplicated clarity of category multiplication to a film.
Very immature kids might be diverted by “Annie’s” wall-to-wall song and nonstop movement; characters frequency postponement to take a breath. Special suspicion was apparently spent on a display of a show’s Charles Strouse/Martin Charnin standards. “It’s a Hard-Knock Life,” danced by Wallis and a other tyke actors with spasmodic percussive, object-slamming accompaniment vaguely suggestive of “Stomp” (already feeling some-more antiquated than Busby Berkeley), is winningly executed by this unusually gifted child troupe. By distant a film’s best union of New York locations occurs in a entertainment of “Tomorrow”: Like Snow White warbling into her wishing well, Wallis starts off singing into a path sleet puddle, while Gluck continues to locate her thoughtfulness opposite plate-glass buildings and a windows of flitting buses via a number.