Last night we went to see 'Mamma Mia!' at the cinema. Now, I like Abba as much as the next 'secure-in-my-masculinity child-of-the-seventies-and-early-eighties' - but I had seen the trailer... and Meryl Streep wearing Dungarees and prancing about didn't fill me with confidence. 'Chick Flick', thought I.
It was, however, good. To my surprise.
Yes, it was contrived, yes it was corny. In a few places it was toe-curling - but nonetheless it was fun. Some of the sequences were genuinely great - Julie Walters in particular stole the show in a few places, notably the 'Take a Chance on Me' number at the end, a very understated start to it... 'Chiquitita' was also well done.
We burst out laughing in a few places. One memorable occasion was when Pierce Brosnan sang for the first time (S.O.S.), unfortunately it wasn't appropriate here - but we just found a singing James Bond to be a little odd. The good thing was that it didn't matter, you get the sense that people just went with it and enjoyed the experience - Pierce Brosnan in particular must have known when he signed on that it'd play on his existing profile.
If you see the film, do stay for the end titles (at least the first part of them). Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Julie Walters do some Abba numbers in full 70s Abba jumpsuits - joined for 'Waterloo' by Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård. This got a big reaction from the audience. However, Meryl Streep looking out of the cinema screen saying 'Do you want some more?' was clearly not designed for a British audience - we were not dancing in the aisles - we were sitting there waiting for the recorded image to stop trying to be interactive.
It was silly, it was a chick-flick.... but it was also an enjoyable 108minutes.
Do watch out for Cameos by Bjorn and Benny.
Other Websites on this film
- Tonehall talks of how Meryl Streep got the part.
- Gratuitous Violins posted a review in which they say the stage show is better, but they enjoyed the film.
- Pajamas Media says it is a show to be laughed at, not with. I agree with the sentiment - I was certainly laughing during the 'serious' S.O.S. number - and I don't think that's a problem - as the review says 'I for one have seldom laughed harder. A laugh is a laugh...' (though the review does indulge is mild racism and homophobia by equating 'British' with 'Gay' on page 2)
- The CellarDoorBlog didn't like it at all: 'It's poorly made. Simple as that.'
- London Frequently says 'It’s no cinematic masterpiece, but it is enjoyable, and kind of fun watching the audience try not to sing along' (well, this is London Frequently, in other parts of the world people wouldn't hold back...)
- Entertainment on DVD reviews this cinema release, saying that the bottom line is to watch it.
My verdict? Leave your dramatic sense at the door, don't expect 'art' - though it's enjoyable in a kitsch way. Stay for the end credits (at least until the credits scroll upward).