Because an Annie reboot is in theatres right now, I thought an Annie refresher was in order – and was shocked to learn that neither Sean nor Matt had ever seen it in the first place. I assured them it was a classic that may have eluded them in their childhoods but needed to be seen tout de suite.
So I’m going to write it now, in bold: I was wrong. This is not a good movie. I don’t know how or why I had such warm fuzzy feelings about it. Sure the little red curls are cute (a wig!) and I’m sure I fell for the scruffy dog named after my mother, but only a song and a half are decently hummable, and Carol Burnett’s Miss Hannigan feels wildly inappropriate. Not to mention the weirdly racist Punjab character, who wears a turban and can move things with his mind.
Jack Nicholson was originally cast as Daddy Warbucks, and Drew Barrymore auditioned to be Annie. Would that have made any difference? Because my biggest complaint with this movie is th at it’s just not that charming. I was rather bored by it. I can’t imagine what about this movie inspired someone to want to make another, but I admit I’m at least curious to find out how much has changed. Surely Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan must be a nicer, soberer creature, less prone to child exploitation and flimsy underclothes? And I’m praying that no one ever has to refer to Jamie Fox as “Daddy.”
Critics don’t seem to have liked this new one (or the old one, for that matter), but the box office tells another story. The first Annie also did pretty well in theatres, was the tenth-highest grossing film of 1982, which still wasn’t enough to make a profit considering its bloated budget. I haven’t been bored enough to get to the 2014 version yet but when I do, you’ll be the first to hear.