posted by Allison, 7/18/08
One thing is certain. People like ABBA. And people like other people singing ABBA songs, especially when they happen to string them together to form a story. And then dance that story out. (Watch the trailer)
Thus was born Mamma Mia! the musical and now Mamma Mia! the musical movie starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski and Stellan Skarsgard. All singing. And dancing. The story takes place in beautiful Greece, following Sophie (Seyfried) and the mix-ups she gets herself into when she invites her mother’s (Streep) three ex-lovers to her wedding. One of them has got to be her daddy! And a girl needs to be walked down the aisle by her father, even if she’s only known him for a day.
There are several major differences between watching a stage musical and watching one on the big screen. People singing and dancing after every couple lines of dialogue seems to make more sense live vs. recorded. Same is true for this movie adaptation, where it takes awhile to get used to the fact that Streep just breaks out into song and everything is covered in that hazy 80s music video glow (which was just unnecessary and corny).
However, like the musical, the movie version infects the audience with laughter and fun. Everyone at the screening I attended seemed to be having a good time — due mostly to Streep’s charisma, the hilarious antics of Baranski and Walters (as Streep’s friends and ex-bandmates), a catalogue of very well known songs, and Colin Firth making some dreams come true.
Seyfried (last seen in Big Love) is charming and matches well with Streep, especially in one of the best mother-daughter fights I’ve seen in awhile. But watching Brosnan try to express emotion through song kind of gave me the creeps. He just doesn’t belong in that world.
Complete with a Greek chorus, Mamma Mia! is cute but way over-the-top — especially when it comes to any scene with young male dancers or jet skis.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of musicals, ABBA fans, and those open to utterly silly fun.