This rebooted remake of Annie may have replaced the curly-haired redhead protagonist with Quvenzhané Wallis, an Annie perfect for 2014 – however this refreshing take on events feels lost in a movie that feels so outdated, as obsolete as the much-loved 1982 original.

The updates to the story see Annie – played by Wallis (Oscar-nominated for her debut ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’) living the dream of rags to riches. Her hard-knock life is partly down to an alcoholic slush of a foster parent. Cameron Diaz has fun as Hannigan, prat-falling her way through the first half of the film. Annie meanwhile, still hopes her real parents will come back for her, having been abandoned as a baby. Against this backdrop we see billionaire tech-wizard Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) campaigning hard to be mayor of New York. He’s losing in the polls, and his assistants are fresh out of ideas… all seems lost. But then a chance encounter sees Annie run into Stacks, literally, and the following positive publicity set the wheels in motion for Stacks to take in the young girl and give her a home. Until the election is won, of course.

The plot loosely follows the earlier version, with the obvious updates along the way. Surprisingly, race plays little to no part of the film. Not only in terms of Annie now being a black girl, but also in terms of Stack’s political campaign. It’s refreshing to see the worst case scenario of a sass-mouthed Kevin Hart mugging the screen has been thankfully avoided. As a musical, there are many old hands on set to try and deliver the goods. Jay-Z and Will Smith were involved behind the scenes, and of course Jamie Foxx himself is no first-timer when it comes to singing on screen. Wallis also holds her own, managing to show some real emotional range in some of the set-piece numbers.

Another real surprise is Rose Byrne. She’s fantastic in the song and dance numbers she’s required to do, and manages to pitch the comedy perfectly in the rest of the film. In many ways, she is the heart of the film, playing the potential love interest for Stacks as his unflappable assistant. Not so much good news on the Cameron Diaz front, sadly. Hannigan is meant to be wallowing in hole of self-pity, yearning for lost youth surrounded by youngsters who constantly remind her of what might have been. Diaz is quite frankly too young to play this role. She’s not helped by her lack of singing skills, we’re not talking Pierce Brosnan in ‘Mamma Mia’ bad, but we’re not far off. Her redemption comes too quickly as well, making all her scenes feel tacked on.

Poor Bobby Carnevale doesn’t get much of a look in either. He is meant to be the villain of the piece, the evil fxer who will stop at nothing to get his man, Will Stacks, into the role of Mayor. Instead, his attempts to play for laughs fall flat at every turn. It needed someone with a more elusive quality. In fact, some dodgy facial hair stroking to signal some imminent wrong-doing would have helped, rather than the comedy walk out of scene that is often employed.

In short, Annie is a very deliberate attempt to please a very particular audience. It largely succeeds, but in the process it alienates the casual viewer. If only the rest of it was as good as the hilarious film-within-the-film ‘Moonlake Quake’, a knowing parody of another genre entirely. If Annie could have been as smart about musicals, we would have had the laughs to go along with the show-stopping tunes.