from much-filmed 1970s Broadway musical Annie for the title track to his 1998 album.' />

Jay-Z lifted chunks of It's A Knock Hard Life from much-filmed 1970s Broadway musical Annie for the title track to his 1998 album.

It was a nice touch. But really, he should have stopped there.

But no, the rap mogul - with fellow producer Will Smith - have gone and remade the whole show.

You might think with those hip-hop credentials and the Afro-Americanisation of the lead characters -- orphan Annie and her billionaire guardian are played by Beasts of the Southern Wild breakout star Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx respectively -- it would at least be funky.

Advertisement

Or that it would feature some big voices and impressive choreography . That at the very least, this Annie wouldn't feel oddly quaint and dated or more of a cartoon that the 1920s comic strip that gave us the curly-haired redhaired moppet in the first place.

But no such luck. This curdled vanilla Annie loses the plucky period spirit of the original in its inept, tone-deaf, occasionally smart-alec translation and the result is pretty much a two-hour smartphone advertisement.

Which might have been at least tolerable if those required to do so could sing or dance. Not many can - especially not Cameron Diaz, as floozy foster home boss Miss Hannigan, who deserves the Pierce Brosnan prize for her singing here.

As Annie, Wallis is sassy as they come but she's really not up it singing-wise, even with copious amounts of autotune.

Meanwhile, as the workaholic lonely cellphone tycoon and mayoral candidate, Foxx does a decent job - even if he has to deliver one of his big musical numbers -- the Sia-written This City's Yours - while looking airsick on a helicopter swooping across the Manhattan skyline.

That aerial number is pretty much the only time the many songs actually take flight.

Otherwise, this seems like a film that doesn't really want to be a musical, such is the tepid delivery of the song-and-dance bits by director Will Gluck. And that lack of energy and movement and decent tunes and a two-hour running time is likely to make this a bore for all ages.

Christmas family movie rating? A big bah humbug.

Advertisement


Verdict: Updated but downgraded.

Cast: Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne
Director: Will Gluck
Running Time: 118 mins
Rating: PG.