The spunky lovable redhead, popularized in a comic strip, musical, and movie returns for an urbanized update where the orphan (Quvenzhane Wallis) lives under the care of her cruel and often inebriated stepmother (Cameron Diaz) but never loses hope of returning to her birth parents. Soon she crosses paths with an aloof cell phone tycoon (Jamie Foxx) who takes in the ragamuffin as a publicity stunt to aid his faltering mayoral campaign. Will Gluck's Annie, backed by producers Will Smith and Jay-Z, initially captures the old fashioned, plucky spirit of the matter but soon stumbles due to the introduction of lame new songs, the infusion of hip-hop into the old standards, an overabundance of modernity into this old-timey material, and a disturbing embrace of materialism. Wallis shines and brings the requisite energy to the part, and the rest of the cast is serviceable expiating Diaz who makes a poor substitute for Carol Burnett.
** out of ****