Monday, July 16, 2018

Movie Review: "Mamma Mia!" (2008)

Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Year: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

A young woman who is about to be married invites three men to her wedding, each of whom may be her father.
"Typical, isn't it? You wait 20 years for a dad and then three come along at once." (Image Source)
We sure as hell hope you like the band ABBA because if you don't, you're not going to have an enjoyable time watching "Mamma Mia!" This musical is directed by Phyllida Lloyd, who only has one other theatrical film credit to her name in "The Iron Lady." The screenplay is written by Catherine Johnson, who adapted it from her own stage play. It stars Amanda Seyfried as Sophie, a 20-year-old young woman who is about to get married to her fiance Sky (Dominic Cooper). She wants to have her father walk her down the aisle, but there's just one problem: she doesn't know who her dad is. Sophie finds her mom's old diary that was written during the summer she was conceived and learns her father might be one of three men, Sam (Pierce Brosnan), Bill (Stellan Skarsgård), or Harry (Colin Firth). Since she doesn't know which person is her dad, Sophie invites all three of them to her wedding, hoping she will know instinctively who it is when she sees him. When Sophie's mom Donna (Meryl Streep) finds out all of her ex-lovers are at her daughter's wedding, it adds extra stress she was not expecting and leaves her in a frantic state, and what else is there to do when you're stressed but to SING AND DANCE!!!!!!!!!!
"'I've done the big white wedding, and believe me, it doesn't always end in happy ever after." (Image Source)
You may know what we're going to say about this film. "Mamma Mia!" has a lot of problems from both a narrative standpoint and from a technical one. The whole concept is absurdly over-the-top and borders on a bonkers, ridiculous territory. The era in which the movie takes place is not entirely clear. If it is meant to take place in the late 2000's, it means Sam (Brosnan) dressed like a hippie well into the 80's. If it takes place in the 80's or early 90's, it sure as shit doesn't look like it (especially given that his wig/outfit combo came from Party City). Given when the music was penned by ABBA, it's not surprising that the time frame is murky at best. There are far too many jump cuts. Some scenes are too dark while others are too brightly lit. Some pieces of the story don't fit together and feel rushed...BUT MERYL STREEP SINGS AND EVERYONE DANCES!!
"You always knew how to make an entrance." (Image Source)
That being said, we're not going to deny that we sort of love "Mamma Mia!" We thought we weren't huge fans of ABBA, but we actually really enjoy the music! There are only a couple of songs that we never get into, but there are far more hits than misses here. Sure, Pierce Brosnan isn't the best singer in the world, but everyone else props him up and makes us forget how bad he is. Give the guy a break, people! He just wanted to work with Meryl effing Streep, and who wouldn't?! This movie also manages to have a lot of laughs, mainly from the "spontaneous" Harry (Firth), the free-spirited Bill (Skarsgård), as well Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski). We like each of the characters (minus Sophie and her constant whining, even though Seyfried can carry a tune), and we like all of the actors who play them. We love this musical despite that it's a jumbled hodgepodge. Watching this movie provides for a lot of joyous fun despite its glaring flaws. We smile, sing, and dance our way through its runtime every damn time we watch it.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 54%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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