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Review of Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia!: Hard to Imagine a Better Party

If there were a family get-together with all the slick, recent Broadway-to-film productions, like Hairspray and Dreamgirls, Mamma Mia! would be the drunk older aunt whose clothing doesn't really match and who says all the wrong things but you love her and her kooky, off-kilter self anyway. The movie is, like that aunt, all over the place: Only a third of the cast can actually sing, the plot is thin, and the characters are — with the exception of a few moments — as one-dimensional as it gets. Oh, and there are hardly three minutes between one ABBA cover and the next.

In place of the large-scale choreographed dance productions of other musicals, Mamma Mia! chooses to go heavy on stuff like arms waving in the air, frolicking through streets, and bed bouncing. It has all the girlish exuberance of a slumber party, the sweaty debauchery of a bachelorette party, and the spectacle of a big fat Greek wedding. The movie — and all the actors in it — so unabashedly embrace a spirit of innocence and joy that it's hard to imagine a more perfect form of escapism.

To see why, despite filming in a stunning sun-drenched location, the cast is the real reason this summer movie shimmers,


Mamma Mia! is a party from start to finish. It takes place within a short period of time on a small Greek island where 20-year-old Sophie (played by one of the cast members who can really sing, Amanda Seyfried) is about to get married, though her hippie mother, Donna (Meryl Streep), is concerned she might be too young. The only thing Sophie's missing to complete her perfect day is that she wants her father to give her away — but she's not sure who her father is. After busting into Donna's diary, Sophie discovers that there are three men who could be her dad, and without telling anyone she invites all three to the wedding. And they all show up. . . for some reason. Meanwhile, Donna's randy old girlfriends have also descended onto the island for the wedding and are there by her side when the three men from her past suddenly appear.

Now, I understand that for some of you, this silly plot plus nonstop ABBA sounds about as fun as pouring gasoline in your eyes and if that's the case, this movie isn't for you. I don't think the filmmakers are trying to convert anyone here. No, this movie was made for the initiated. For those folks who wish real life were peppered with spontaneous bursts of song and dance, and whose idea of a good time might include getting sauced with Christine Baranski and Meryl Streep.

And basically that might be what's at the heart of this movie: wanting to hang out and have a goofy good time with these beloved actors. So when Collin Firth is suddenly in a ridiculous, gaudy outfit, singing a cheeseball ABBA song it made me buckle over in laughter, the same way it would if I saw my own dad or uncle doing it. They know it's kind of a joke, but they seem happy to be the punchline, and it's so endearing to see all these great performances come out of actors who have tossed out their vanity in the name of fun.

Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures

chantyl chantyl 9 years
I watched the movie already twice and can't wait to see it again - never happened to me. I don't know why all the fuss about Pierce not being perfect in his singing - for me he did sing well and any this is a movie quite a different scenario from the theatre. I've never seen Merilyn and Pierce acting in such type of movie and for me I adore them more now that I've seen them in this movie. All actors were wonderful too. This is a movie that conjure such good feeling every time so no matter how much criticism there is about Pierce Bronson's singing for me he was just superb and now I am seeing him in a different angle.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 9 years
I think this movie looks so fun. I can't wait to see it!
em1282 em1282 9 years
I'm guessing Colin's one of the guys who can actually sing...based on the two minutes of "The Importance of Being Earnest" when he sang with Rupert Everett. I'm not really an ABBA fan so I don't know if I could watch this...but when it comes out on DVD I'll be finding all of Colin's scenes for sure :)
robinesque robinesque 9 years
I saw this Saturday night with my young daughter and was smiling & crying (during the wedding prep scene). That was FUN!!!! Meryl Streep was GORGEOUS, flexible, believable and just downright sexy!! Who knew she could sing? Colin Firth did NOT get enough screen time, but, I know, the story isn't about him. Pierce Brosnan was BRAVE to sing, that's all I'm saying about HIM! Definitely a chick-flick. (Sent the hubby and boys to watch "Dark Knight" in another theater.)
alikat07 alikat07 9 years
I loved the movie! It was super fun and entertaining... just what the doctor ordered for a girls night out.
AcidBreeze AcidBreeze 9 years
They locked the actors up in a barn for a month, trying to teach them how to dance - how could they not have fun. And it's infectious, it just bleeds of the screen :)
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 9 years
ugh!! srsly... if I hear or see this commercial one more time I will jam qtips in my ears and poke my eyes out :oy:
cutesy11 cutesy11 9 years
pierce was sooooo super cute in it!
popcorn19 popcorn19 9 years
LOVED it. Corny as hell, yes. And usually those types of movies bother me. But I just LOVED this movie. I was so happy afterwards. And I was SO happy with Amanda's voice! Lately they've been casting young girls who have a bit of a name to them who cannot sing at ALL in these musical roles (umm, Emmy Rosem (sp?) and Amanda Bynes anyone?). Loved her voice. It was beautiful. "Honey Honey" sold me with the movie immediately.
robinesque robinesque 9 years
Colin, dahling, here I come!
dukegirl dukegirl 9 years
Meryl Streep can do no wrong! I remember her singing in Postcards from the Edge, which they ran with the credits. She was fabulous then and will be here too. Mama Mia is on my list.
bella85 bella85 9 years
I'M sorry, guys, but I hate musicals, hate abba, hate pierce brosnan, hate this kind of movies. NO chance I'm gonna watch this crap.
RustyAngel73 RustyAngel73 9 years
i'm not a fan of musicals, except for grease which i loved, but i saw this and ABSOLUTELY ADORED it. soooo awesome, i loved it.
aliohh aliohh 9 years
What fun!!! I just saw it and the audience applauded and screamed YES at the end when Meryl asks if you want another song. Then what followed was a HOOT. Meryl is fabulous - the guys are great - and the rest of the cast are wonderful. the boys in their flippers - too funny. So what if they can't sing. Can you??? GO, GO, GO see this and let yourself enjoy it. It is joyful!
omgosh-dee omgosh-dee 9 years
this was definitely a great movie to watch with all your girlfriends. i had SO much fun watching it with mine, and i found myself bopping my head to the music. we stayed longer than most people in the movie and actually sang along to the music. i wanted to stand up and dance along with them. and amanda's voice is wonderful.
PollyPrissyPants PollyPrissyPants 9 years
@BuzzSugar - I wish I'd seen them in the same order as you! As much as I loved Dark's not the happiest of notes to end a long day on!
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
I cannot wait to see this movie; looks like much fun.
ansoliz ansoliz 9 years
I just saw it and loved it. I've never seen it before and it was so much fun. I love Amanda's vocals. And Colin is so fun. Also loved the two performances at the end of the movie. The men were such good sports.
sunnyheart sunnyheart 9 years
I went with my mother tonight and I LOVED it! It was light, fluffy, in Greece, and the perfect summer escape. Pierce cannot sing, and you will almost start laughing when he first starts, but he goes for it with such gusto, and he is SO good looking that it doesn't even matter!! I loved it!
meerkat meerkat 9 years
Just got back from it! And yes, definitely meant for the ABBA fans... It was loads of fun! Vocally, I thought Lay All Your Love On Me was the best... since they could both sing well. Haha, poor Pierce Brosnan... :P
agrepina agrepina 9 years
i loved this was soo much fun to watch and sing along to..!!
Littlelovebee Littlelovebee 9 years
I just saw it and I don't remember the last time I had that much fun at a movie. I wanted to dance and sing right along with it!
stephley stephley 9 years
"Now, I understand that for some of you, this silly plot plus nonstop ABBA sounds about as fun as pouring gasoline in your eyes and if that's the case, this movie isn't for you." Who's going to read this line, coming as it does, right under that lovely picture of Colin's legs?
ehadams ehadams 9 years
My boyfriend and my mom want to see this. I might send them off while I watch Dark Knight. Haha!
Sugar-Cane Sugar-Cane 9 years
Great review buzz! I cannot wait to see it. I never realized that Collin Firth had such nice (if a little feminine) looking legs.
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