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Annie: A Royal Adventure Reviews

Why are those sinister Brits trailing after little but no-longer-orphaned Annie (Ashley Johnson) on her jaunts from Daddy Warbucks' mansion? Bumbling kidnappers Rupert Hogbottom (Crispin Bonham-Carter) and Murphy (Perry Benson) are just following orders from Rupert's mother, Lady Edwina Hogbottom (Joan Collins). She wants to kidnap Annie for leverage against Warbucks, whose houseguest Professor Eon (Ian Mc Darmid) has invented a top secret rocket fuel. When Warbucks travels with his family to England to receive a knighthood, the Hogbottom gang boards the ocean liner, too. Although Annie foils their plan to nab the Professor, the red-headed tyke and her friends later fall into Lady Hogbottom's clutches at her estate. It's up to Annie to prevent Lady Hogbottom and her accomplices from using the Professor's fuel to launch a rocket at Buckingham Palace. A sunny performance by Ashley Johnson brightens this agreeable but lackluster concoction about everyone's favorite meddlesome moppet, featuring lots of schmaltz about adoptive bliss and All-American pluckiness. Lady Hogbottom's wacky plan to obliterate the monarchy and become the next Queen of England (!) is not without its amusing moments, but Collins, whose every gesture drips with innuendo, is out of her usual budoir element, and Bonham-Carter and Benson are a little too reminiscent of the clods from HOME ALONE. If you're a fan of the bug-eyed comic strip heroine, skip this and the ghastly 1982 big-screen adaptation of Annie and watch Disney's smashing TV version starring Kathy Bates instead.