Mamma Mia!

The planets must have aligned and dogs and cats must have put aside their differences to go skiing in Hell because when my Mum asked if I wanted to see a DVD screener (i.e. the DVD that is passed around for awards an’ that) of “Mamma Mia!” I said “Yes. Yes I do”.

Mamma Mia! (2008)

I swear to God, if you cracked open my head and looked at my brain, apart from facing a life in prison, you’d see that the songs of Abba are burned on me ol’ grey matter. I’m sure it’s the same for many people, but Abba’s music was always the played by my mum whilst doing housework. So, when I hear any Abba song I instantly think of mums and housework. It’s not the worst thing to think of whilst watching “Mamma Mia!” either. This is their film. It is the sort of film that you walk out of thinking “Right, that’s my mum’s/sister’s/grandmother’s/auntie’s/girlfriend’s/strangely effeminate drinking buddy’s Christmas present sorted”

Somebody up there has got it in for me. I bet it’s my mother”

The basic plot is that Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is getting married and she realises that she still doesn’t know who her father is. According to her mother, Donna’s (Meryl Streep) diary, it’s one of three men. So naturally, Sophie decides to invite all of them to the wedding. Cue the rest of the story. It’s not the sort of plot that holds up to close scrutiny as at the end of the day, it’s just a device to loosely string Abba songs together. Most of the musical numbers fall into place with an almost audible “clunk!” as the film decides that we haven’t seen Meryl Streep overacting for a couple of minutes. It’s actually a bad film, but has so much damn charm you can’t help but like it.

Many things can be said about “Mamma Mia!”, but like “Speed Racer” it knows its audience. This may explain why screenings were sold out and to the best of my knowledge are still selling out at the moment. It’s a feel good, fun film. Around the 50 minute mark I casually looked down and to my horror my toes were indeed a’ tappin’ (the song was “Voulez-Vous” fact fans) After making a panicked call to the gay hotline to check if this meant that I was now a homosexual, I realised that this film isn’t trying to be anything deep. It makes about as much sense as a film can that’s set in Greece, whilst everyone sings Swedish pop songs. To be honest, I lost interest in the plot after a while. I reckon you could get a similar experience to the whole “Mamma Mia!” thing by going through your Mum’s embarrassingly small DVD collection (“Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and a stray 90’s Bond film) whilst listening to “Abba Gold” on the stereo.

In fact, talking of James Bond, what was everyone’s problem with Pierce Brosnan’s singing? Fair enough, he doesn’t exactly have the best singing voice in the World, but then neither does Meryl Streep (in fact, she grated on my nerves). I paid close attention to Brosnan’s face whilst he was singing “S.O.S.” and I think I know the problem. He looks surprised. His face remains still whilst his mouth does all these big movements. It’s an odd thing and I think that it probably threw a lot of people when he was performing next to Meryl Streep and other seasoned “sing-y” types. Still, I think he did well- good on you, Pierce.

“Typical. You wait 20 years for a father and then three show up at once!”

I think many critics/reviewers have been too harsh on “Mamma Mia!”. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of it, but it is a fun film. It couldn’t be more female-orientated if it tried, but I think a few men will have to hide their tapping feet (it’s strangely involuntary) too.

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