Mamma Mia: A Review

While everyone else headed out to “The Dark Knight”, I headed to “Mamma Mia” to avoid the crowds (let the jokes begin). I had seen the musical several years ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed it because I like ABBA music. But the musical’s story is a simple and butchered one, and it translates no better on film either. The point of this musical and movie is not substance — it’s all fun. From a cinematic standpoint, this film was a tragedy. The script is average at best, there is no credible character development or arresting narrative arc, and nothing really happens in this film. Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth are over the top and can’t carry a tune, but that’s part of the charm I suppose.

This film is about fun and music, and it succeeds on that level for those of us who can’t get enough of “SOS”, “Dancing Queen”, or “The Winner Takes It All.” Merryl Streep does not come near her noteworthy performances in “Silkwood”, “Kramer vs. Kramer”, or “The Devil Wears Prada”, but she does not disappoint and comes through with some convincing musical numbers. Her version of “The Winner Takes It All” (sans Pierce Brosnan who can’t carry a tune, God bless him) is actually better than the original.

If you love Abba, and if you’re in the mood for a brainless trip to the movies, this is the movie for you. But if you’re looking for more, head to “Dark Knight” or “Frozen River.” There is no substance here – just a delightful party on a beautiful Grecian island that made me smile and sing. And that was enough.

One Response to “Mamma Mia: A Review”
  1. Nate says:

    This review sums up the movie nicely. Perhaps I’m comparing too much to progidies like Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, but the vocals in this movie were simply average at best, despite Amanda Seyfried’s best attempts at vibrato. I’ve seen this on stage too, and you’re right, it doesn’t translate any better to film. You kind of have to just watch from song to song because if you try to follow any kind of narrative, you’ll only realize that it’s a disaster. Indeed, take this movie for what it is: a banal plot designed to celebrate the genius of ABBA. If you keep that in mind, the movie is comes off more sparkling than the Greecian water contained with in it.

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