Oh, Mamma Mia. Here I go again.
OK, this one I had my doubts on. I only had a passing urge to see it in the theater this summer especially as, based on the previews, I thought for once here was something that Meryl Streep couldn't do, namely sing and dance. Turns out she isn't all that bad and actually manages to sing The Winner Takes It All rather well. It's not an easy song and one that goes on for-evah at that, so doing it really well is saying something. As for her dancing, well, not everyone was born with rhythm and she certainly plunges in fearlessly so points for that. It's still looks a tad odd - La Streep cavorting around a Greek isle in overalls while always trailing flowing pieces of cloth, shawls, sweaters, or disco arm bands like some sort of Pied Piper for textiles - but, okay.
I confess, I like ABBA songs, particularly Dancing Queen, Waterloo, SOS, Take A Chance on Me, and to a slightly lesser extent, Mamma Mia itself. Chirpy, bouncing, fun, and romantic tunes with good harmonies. What's not to like? And with this movie, I also get nearly 2 hours of Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard being cute and silly. Plus both Pierce and Colin take their shirts off and get wet - Remington Steele AND Mr. Darcy in the same scene dancing and singing bare chested in the faux rain. I don't need much more than that to be having a good time (maybe a little more.) I think the film may have caught fire at one point.
Good on ya.
The movie is really delightful. I laughed out loud over and over again at all the antics. Yes, it's mostly a chick flick, but so what? Julie Waters - best known far and wide and forever to the masses as Harry Potter's Mrs. Weasley - is an absolute scream and Christine Baranski and her never ending legs and wicked humor are as much of a good time as ever. Plus, it's filmed on location in Greece (or somewhere like it) and the scenery is absolutely stunning. And then there are those three lovely lads. I can turn a deaf ear to the musical missteps and general unlikeliness for the most part to get all that and just fall into the silliness and have a good time, which, after all, is all the film wants you to do.
Except for one thing.
Pierce Brosnan is tone deaf. Lord bless him, 007 can't carry a tune if it was strapped on his back. Only either no one making the film noticed - incredibly unlikely - or it's all good to them as it's freaking Pierce Brosnan and women from 4 to 104 will fill the seats to see him. So he has not one, not two, but at least three solo moments. I cringed every time he ballyhooed, repeatedly groaned Oh poor Pierce!, and prayed for temporary loss of hearing. With the chorus behind him and when he's not trying to be, you know, melodic, then he's - er - um - okay, but please God, don't give the man his own microphone ever again.
Good thing he's pretty. Still, oh so very pretty.
Speaking of the chorus, there is a gaggle of Greek laborers - maids, gardeners, plumbers, farmers, etc - that pop up behind the stars throughout the movie, mostly during the big numbers, to serve as the chorus. The Greek Chorus. I nearly peed my pants laughing when I figured that out (I'm Polish; it took me about 20 minutes, but I was there eventually). An actual Greek Chorus. During the end credits - and do, please watch the credits, don't flip the DVD right back to the menu or turn it off. Totally. Worth. It. - they show the actors who played the chorus floating on clouds, wearing ivy leaves on their brows, playing harps and accompanied by sheep just to point out for those of us that STILL didn't get it that they're the Greek Chorus.
Oh my giddy aunt.
It's not quite free, but take a chance on Mamma Mia anyways.
Rated PG-13 for risque themes and humor and one shot of Stellan Skarsgard's bare butt.