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REVIEWS OF REBOOT ANNIE AND THE ORIGINAL THEATRICAL

year: 2014 rating: *
ANNIE 2014: To make people forget what you’re taking the place of, the most effective device is to mention that particular thing to get it… or in this case… to get her out of the way, quick.

So begins the new ANNIE inside a classroom where a redheaded white girl wraps up an annoying presentation... and then it's time for the next student, also named ANNIE, played by last year’s Oscar nominated Quvenzhané Wallis, who not only trumps this movie’s pseudo Annie but the original, Aileen Quinn’s iconic orphan, is outdone in one aspect – compared to a haves and have nots opening number inspired by The New Deal, FDR never had such posthumous promotion.  

ANNIE, a MR. DEEDS style mainstream comedy with pop culture references galore, introduces each character as if they were cameos in a parody instead of a genuine remake, or in this case... altering from the 1930's into modern day... a reboot.

Wallis sleepwalks through the pains and joys of the title character, and replacing Carol Burnett as the mean orphanage… or rather… Foster Home den mother is Cameron Diaz. Almost letting her guard down right off the bat, Miss Hannigan seems more like a cranky Aunt than a villain with a hatred for little girls… Providing the orphans nothing to really fear. In fact they seem completely at home, and in control: The place ain't too shabby. 

Warbucks Unnamed
The real heavy is Bobby Cannavale, stepping into the Tim Curry role as a nefarious climber seeking a big raise from his boss, the new Daddy Warbucks in the form of Jamie Foxx as Stacks, a cell phone magnate running for New York City Mayor and, losing in the polls, he takes in an orphan for a needed boost. 

During their pivotal field trip bonding experience, Foxx and Wallis have the awkward non-chemistry of two actors who just started rehearsing lines. Stacks isn’t very uptight to begin with for his eventual heart-melting transition to matter, while Annie doesn't seem to really need anything, much less a new parent. Songs between the duo border banal and creepy. And as Rose Byrne attempts tying loose ends together, there’s just not anything between anyone – even the dog seems bored.

The original hard knocking classics aside, the new tunes lend nothing to an actual story, which isn’t an entertaining rags to riches coming-of-age musical but a pointless attempt to bring a famous Comic Strip/Broadway/Cinema character back to life by throwing everything into the pot, hoping something will land.

Not to jump on the breaking news bandwagon, but SONY PICTURES scrapped the wrong film!

1982 rating: ***
ANNIE 1982: “Why a kid would want to be an orphan,” barks the villainous Miss Hannigan, “is beyond me!” Well who can blame the bitter lush: No matter how bad these poor little tykes are treated in that rundown dilapidated orphanage, they're having loads of fun singing and dancing like there’s no… tomorrow!

Although this big budget extravaganza’s loaded with great actors like Albert Finney as bald millionaire Daddy Warbucks, Tim Curry as a con artist and Carol Burnett as the bearer of the quote above, Aileen Quinn’s ANNIE steals the show.

Displaying an everygirl persona mixed with a dynamic musical talent, Quinn provides the essential energy for the iconic redhead without lacking pathos and vulnerability.

Even when given a dream-week to stay with Daddy Warbucks for his publicity, her true aim is having a real family. Determined to find her original parents, Warbucks makes a radio campaign with a hefty reward – perking ears of the wrong people.

Aileen Quinn
While Annie slowly warms the heart of the steely industrialist, songs break out in just about every other scene. The tunes are catchy, showcased with incredible dance numbers.

Albert Finney with Quinn
The time-period sets look and feel authentic; from poverty stricken streets and alleyways to the plush Warbucks mansion, veteran auteur John Huston takes us to a polarizing time of haves and have-nots in the Depression-era '30s with vibrant reality.

Although one particular overlong scene, as Warbucks (constantly regarded as a greedy Capitalist) is talked into the New Deal by President Roosevelt, distracts from Annie’s personal adventure, we sporadically return to the orphanage where Miss Hannigan and her nefarious brother's plot to recover the reward: providing the audience – especially the younger ones – a constantly suspenseful edge, making ANNIE a kid's movie with just about everything: including a heroine with everything to gain or lose.
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