Friday, January 24, 2014

Mamma Mia! (2008) [PG-13] ***

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is twenty, engaged to be married to Sky (Dominic Cooper) and living with her single mom Donna (Meryl Streep) on a picturesque Greek island where they own a run-down tourist hotel. Donna is a Gen-Xer with a wild past - twenty-one years ago she slept with three young men within a month, one of whom got her pregnant (Donna never knew which one). But Donna never married, and raised Sophie herself. While planning her wedding, Sophie finds her mother's secret diary, reads about her three lovers, and secretly sends each one a wedding invitation, hoping she will know which one is her father. Bill (Stellan Skarsgard), Sam (Pierce Brosnan) and Harry (Colin Firth) arrive, and the fun begins.

The story line is sweet although contrived, the pacing is upbeat, the Greek landscapes and the sets are gorgeous, the choreography is precise and energetic, and the music is all ABBA. The problems with Mamma Mia! are casting and direction. Guaranteeing a film audience means hiring stars like Streep, Skarsgard, Brosnan and Firth. Unfortunately, when Mamma Mia! was released in July, 2008, these four were 59, 57, 55 and 48 years of age, respectively. Assuming that Donna and her three lovers were in their mid-20s when Sophie was conceived in 1987, Streep, Skarsgard and Brosnan are too old by a decade to play Sophie's parents. In addition, none of the four can sing; listening to Streep and Brosnan attempt S.O.S. or Winner Takes it All is painfully embarrassing. Equally bad are the over-the-top performances elicited by first-time film director Phyllida Lloyd. Finally, there is no chemistry between Streep and the three men, and little between Seyfried and Cooper. 

The main reason to watch Mamma Mia! is the radiant Amanda Seyfried who captures our hearts and delivers the most beautiful ABBA songs, including Honey, Honey, Lay All Your Love on Me, I Have a Dream, The Name of the Game and Thank You For The Music, the last one sung during the film's final credits. 

Labels: comedy, dance, musical, romance, wedding

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 51/100
Tomatometer (critics=54, viewers=66)

The following links were last checked on April 25, 2015:  
Amanda Seyfried - Honey, Honey 
Amanda Seyfried - Honey, Honey (film clip from the movie)   
Amanda Seyfried - A Man After Midnight 
Amanda Seyfried - Thank You For The Music

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