I love big Hollywood musicals - everything from the deeply sinister OKLAHOMA! to the modern glitz of CHICAGO via the genius that is CABARET. I have a fundamental respect for hoofers - old fashioned song and dance entertainers right back to Vaudeville. Nothing pleases me more than seeing a musical theatre artist in their prime - not least Ann Reinking in pretty much everything she did, and Liza Minelli in Cabaret. So despite my reverence for the original 1982 John Huston ANNIE - I was really looking forward to this remake. I didn't quite see the point of it, but I figured the original Strouse-Charmin-Meehan musical could take the reinterpretation. All the best texts can.
I guess I realised something was off with this new movie with the opening number - now, as then, "Maybe" - a song that should be poignant and emotional. Instead it was delivered by a bunch of apparently well-fed and well-dressed kids doing this kind of finger-snap dance ripping off the "Cups" song from PITCH PERFECT. Worst of all, I'm not sure if I'm right, but it felt like the lead actress Quvenzhané Wallis didn't have a strong voice and/or was being heavily auto-tuned. Worse still, her lip-synching was off. Things got worse with Cameron Diaz' outsized but somehow messy performance as the modern-day Miss Hannigan - now a drunken foster mom - and the STOMP rip-off choreography for "Hard Knock Life."