Rooster Curry for Tomorrow
We love you, Miss Hannigan
The last time I watched "Annie" I must have been 13 and remember enjoying the fun musical with catchy tunes and crime caper storyline. But now as a thirty something I watched "Annie" again and found myself cringing from the over the top performances, occasional cheesy song and a case of drama school style acting which to be frank ended up grating like nails down a blackboard. What does this all mean, well it means that "Annie" is a musical for children who will enjoy all the over the top performances and comedy but will leave adults cringing. Even so there is something quite enjoyable about "Annie" even when you are an adult and between the fond memories and some amusing performances it still manages to entertain, just.
Along with a whole group of orphan girls, young Annie (Aileen Quinn) is forced to lead a miserable existence at the orphanage run by the tyrannical Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett - Post Grad). But Annie's fortunes change when millionaire businessman Oliver Warbucks (Albert Finney - Scrooge) wants an orphan to stay with him for a week and Annie is selected by his assistant. Annie's energy and cuteness wins Oliver over and decides to try and help her find her real parents who left her at the orphanage 10 years earlier. Offering a huge reward for information a whole line of frauds turn up saying that they are Annie's parents including Rooster (Tim Curry - Garfield 2), the brother of Miss Hannigan, who with inside information looks like he will get the reward and also Annie.
Despite being over 2 hours long the actual storyline to "Annie" is actually quite simple. Orphan Annie gets the chance to leave a cruel cold orphanage and spend time with a gruff millionaire business man who basically wants her as part of a publicity campaign. The millionaire ends up adoring the young orphan and agrees to help her track down her real parents by posting a reward which leads to loads of fraudulent claims and Annie ending up with a criminal pair. That is really it, of course it is dressed up so that the orphanage is a really nasty place run by a really nasty woman and the energy and enthusiasm of Annie wins the hearts of almost everyone she meets. But the storyline is simple and to be honest just right for a musical which appeals to children, allowing for loads of set pieces to deliver minor moments of drama and comedy all of which pave the way for the big happy ever after ending.
Now once I actually enjoyed the music and songs which fills "Annie" and I do means fills as it is jam packed with songs. And whilst some of the songs are still quite enjoyable especially "It's The Hard-Knock Life" I strangely found many of them quite annoying. Actually I would say grating because where as once little children banging out a song would have been cute it now ended up doing my head in. And I have to say whilst there are some choreographed song & dance scenes it surprised me as to how many of the musical moments seemed devoid of dance, relying on Aileen Quinn as Annie to win us over with her singing. But whilst I did find many of the musical moments a little grating they are also strangely entertaining even when they border on being cheesy, the whole sing along with FDR being one of the most cheesiest.
As for the acting well I have to say that there is not a single performance which doesn't end up being over the top be it Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks or Tim Curry as Rooster. And whilst you have to say that they put their all into their performances it becomes very cheesy with over the top face pulling and rolling eyes. But what ends up grating is that all the young actresses who make up the orphans, including Aileen Quinn as Annie, is the case of drama school performances. There is so much camera mugging that you end up cringing and it spoils "Annie" from and adult's point of view. But you have to say that Aileen Quinn has amazing energy and does win are hearts with the mix of being feisty and cute, talking of which Toni Ann Gisondi as young Molly, Annie's friend steals many a scene.
What this all boils down to is that whilst I still found "Annie" entertaining it ended up grating on me with the whole over the top performances and cheesy musical numbers. It made me realise that "Annie" is a musical made for children who will enjoy the drama school performances, the catchy tunes and the energy which flows through out. But it is a movie which when you get to your late teens is best left alone as watching when you are no longer a child can be painful.
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