Movie review: ‘Mamma Mia!’ harebrained and fun |

Movie review: ‘Mamma Mia!’ harebrained and fun

Shauna Farnell
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to DailyStellan Skarsgard, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth star in "Mama Mia!"

Whoever said Broadway doesn’t translate to the big screen? Sure, dancing in the aisles at “Mamma Mia!” gets a little awkward in a small movie theater, but don’t let that stop you. It certainly didn’t thwart the crowd at the film’s opening night in Edwards. Who knew there were so many dancing queens in the valley?

Bonuses of musicals on the big screen versus on stage include the acoustics (consistent throughout the theater), the visuals (no chance you’ll be cramped side-stage where you only see the actors’ faces when they happen to twirl in your direction) and the big star cast.

Meryl Streep is no opera hero, but she can carry a tune pretty well (even though Pierce Brosnan can’t) and her alter ego as an ABBA disciple unravels convincingly. It’s like she was destined for sparkly flares.

Then again, one’s idea of what’s convincing has to be put in check when watching a film where characters burst into song every seven minutes.

As anyone familiar with the stage production knows, there is really nothing realistic or believable about the plot of “Mamma Mia!,” but that’s just another beautiful aspect of most comedic musicals. As long as there’s a silly one-liner in every chunk of dialogue, spontaneous group choreography in unlikely settings, a healthy dose of cheesy melodrama and slapstick, the menagerie of Broadway stalwarts should be as happy as possible watching their beloved masterpiece in one dimension. And we have a winner with “Mamma Mia!”

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Not only did the film’s director, Phyllida Lloyd, also direct the original Broadway production, but a couple of the masterminds and members of ABBA (Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus) make cameos in the movie, appearing to give it their whole-hearted blessing.

“Mamma Mia!” is, both on screen and on stage, a story designed for the explicit purpose of exhibiting ABBA songs.

Young Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) lives with her single mother (Streep) on a Greek island and is preparing for her wedding. She desperately wants to find the identity of her father and, having read her mother’s diary, comes up with three possibilities. Unbeknownst to her mother, she invites all three (Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard and Colin Firth) to the ceremony, determined to figure out which one is the real thing once she is face-to-face with them.

This proves more challenging than she thinks, and naturally, when her mother sets eyes on her old paramours, a campy explosion of chaos ensues, led by Streep’s amusing rendition of the song “Mamma Mia!”

Those more predisposed to acting than singing starkly reveal themselves in this foppish display. Streep and Seyfriend get at least a silver star, while Brosnan and Skarsgard should probably go ahead and stick to squinting and smirking.

“Mamma Mia!” may not be the most memorable or thought-provoking film you see this summer, but for a film starring a bunch of 60-year-olds, it’s pretty fun.

Movie: “Mama Mia!”

Rated: PG-13

Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd

Starring: Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth

2.5 out of 4 stars

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