Reviewed by: Jennifer Hanley
Jamie Foxx … Will Stacks
Quvenzhané Wallis … Annie
Rose Byrne … Grace
Cameron Diaz … Hannigan
Bobby Cannavale … Guy
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje … Nash
David Zayas … Lou
Zoe Margaret Colletti … Tessie
Nicolette Pierini … Mia
Eden Duncan-Smith … Isabella
Amanda Troya … Pepper
Dorian Missick … Annie’s “Dad”
Tracie Thoms … Annie’s “Mom”
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Sony Pictures Entertainment
Village Roadshow Pictures
Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
Is it a “Hard Knock Life” for the newest version of Little Orphan Annie produced by Will Smith and Jay Z? This modernized version while entertaining fell a little flat for me.
The actress who plays Annie is a talented and beautiful girl. She does the ever upbeat Annie well. This updated version of “Annie” is not in an orphanage; she is now a child in the foster care system. Her foster mother, Miss Hannigan (played by Cameron Diaz) is portrayed closely to the original character. She is still an alcoholic who doesn’t like the five girls she is fostering. She is only doing it for the money.
Jamie Foxx portrays the “Daddy Warbucks” of the movie, except his name is changed to Will Stacks. He is a self-made billionaire and the CEO of his own cell phone company. He is running for mayor to help further his business and good publicity. It’s his conniving campaign manager, Guy that decides adopting a child would help Mr. Stacks’ popularity at the polls.
The story plot continues, sticking fairly close to the original, but with modern twists. Just as in the original, the characters tend to burst out in song. I enjoyed the updated pop version of the music and the updated dancing, as well. The overall flow of the movie though, at times, seems a bit stifled and choppy.
Morally, overall, the movie would not be considered too bad by the general public. The theme of love (Annie’s and Grace’s) being the driving force that changes Mr. Stacks from a greedy, self-adsorbed person into a generous, kind man is endearing. Also, I loved the message that older children in the foster care system are adoptable and desirable (I personally have two older adopted children).
There are a few sexual innuendos made mostly in regard to Miss Hannigan. There are two occasions of kissing. One kiss takes place on Miss Hannigan’s TV screen in the very beginning of the movie and at the very end Mr. Stacks and Grace kiss.
In one scene, there is deceitfulness displayed as a possible good act. A nice store owner asks Annie to change the expiration dates on some of the milk bottles so he can sell them longer.
The only act of violence (except for Miss Hannigan’s physical roughness with the girls) is one punch in the face given to Mr. Stacks’ campaign manager, Guy.
There is alcohol abuse by Miss Hannigan. There is one scene, where Grace, Mr. Stacks’ assistant is shown with a wine bottle and glass.
The word “h*ll” is used twice, as well as the word “d*mn” and “*ss”. The word suck is used once and son of a b*** is said without finishing the phrase.
The main moral issue I have with this movie is the language, especially the use of the Lord’s name in vain seven times, by various characters, throughout the movie. The film sadly reflects our society’s gross disregard for the name of God. We are told in the third commandment that: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7. God is our Creator and Savior, and His name deserves to be honored and respected.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.