Review: Who’s Annie? (Slamdance Festival 2023)

Title: Who’s Annie?
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Sophia Peer
Starring: Annie Pisapia, Sophia Peer, Sofia Dobrushin
Runtime: 30 mins

What It Is: After a past of addiction and getting over inner turmoil, the eccentric and personable Annie Pisapia finds her niche in acting, taking on non-speaking roles appearing in notable film and television. When she comes across the controlling and determined director Sophia at a Burger King and convinces her to hire Annie for a speaking role, inspiration strikes, and Sophia takes on Annie as a lead in a series showcasing her acting chops while also relating to the actress’s real-life experiences. Sophia also decides to make the show about herself directing Annie in the show, and hiring another actress (Dobrushin) to play herself.

What We Think: It’s a big no-brainer as to why this pilot is being presented and executive produced by Ryan Cunningham, who also has Broad City and Search Party under his accreditation belt. The direction the short takes reminds me a lot of the comfortingly oddball shows TBS had running during its 2010s resurgence, and I could definitely see Who’s Amy getting a spot through such a network. It’s funny, charming, and spunky thanks to its brilliant and magnetic lead Annie, playing herself with perfect comedic timing and expression. I hope to see the series moving forward with more focus on her and her character’s development in particular, as all the most entertaining scenes have her as the center. The extraneous aspects of the show feel just that, as I felt certain plot devices start becoming too much of a nod to being redundant and meta, and wanted to see and hear more of where Annie’s story is going to take us. I think the setup is very clear, essentially offering us a reality-inspired variety show in which Annie gets to take part in parodies of other shows (I quite enjoyed the Big Little Lies reference and was laughing all the way through it) while we potentially get to see her journey to sobriety is paying off with success. Other than that, I didn’t find myself as invested in the other parts of the story, sometimes finding them repetitive or even gratingly “quirky,” so hopefully that could be shaped up a bit if hopefully given the green light to lead to the production of a complete season.

Our Grade: B, A fun invitation to the strange, endearing aura of actress Annie Pisapia, this pilot Who’s Annie? offers a lot of comedy potential as it keeps you chuckling and laughing throughout. Certain story elements could be altered, removed, and/or added to make the draw much stronger, but I definitely hope to see more of this concept and its subject in the near future.