The Annie Remake Looks Even More Saccharine Than the Original

Slate's Culture Blog
March 6 2014 11:45 AM

The Annie Remake Looks Even More Saccharine Than the Original

annie_trailer
Quvenzhané Wallis in the Annie trailer

YouTube

In the run-up to the 2013 Oscars, there was a lot of debate about whether Quvenzhané Wallis’ moving performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild was the work of a precocious talent—she was 5 when cast in the role—or the result of clever direction and editing. She has since appeared in a short film and had a small part in 12 Years a Slave, but her next movie, an updated adaptation of the Depression-era musical Annie, will be her first big chance to strengthen her reputation as a child who can really act.

It’s hard to tell from the first trailer whether she will prove her doubters wrong, but she does come across as suitably winsome in her role as the little orphan who softens the heart of Jamie Foxx’s selfish billionaire. Cameron Diaz, on the other hand, seems to be lacking some much-needed bite as Miss Hannigan, the monstrous orphanage supervisor. The shadow of Carol Burnett’s Miss Hannigan from the 1982 film version looms large: Burnett’s performance as the alcoholic, greedy overseer was both terrifying and comical in the best of ways. Diaz is an unlikely choice—while she’s proven to be a gifted comedian, she’s rarely taken on roles that were quite this mean—and she strains here to be convincing as an evil overlord.

Advertisement

Perhaps they’re trying to tamp down the character’s darkness for modern audiences. But this seemingly softer Hannigan, along with the oh-so-current references to George Clooney and Facebook, threatens to make the already-sentimental musical feel even more hokey than the original, and that’s saying something.

 

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Uh-Oh. The World’s Oceans Have Broken Their All-Time Heat Record.

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

The NFL Should Lose Its Tax-Exempt Status, Which It Never Should Have Had Anyway

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 18 2014 6:52 PM Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters  Colorado Democrats and Republicans are testing theories for reaching women that will resonate far beyond the Rocky Mountains.  
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.