Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Movie Mini Review: Mama Mia

Title: Mama Mia!

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Stellan Skarsgård, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep

Plot summary:
A bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan (Seyfried) hatches a scheme to determine who her father is by secretly inviting three of her mother's former lovers to the wedding. Her mother Donna (Streep) is surprised by the sudden appearance of these men from her past. Hilarity ensues as Sophie tries to figure out who her true father is to the soundtrack of pop supergroup ABBA's greatest hits .

My thoughts:
Last week was a work week vacation for my Supermodel Wife and I. We had a list of home improvement projects as long The D's rap sheet, but we still wanted to make sure we did something fun on our vacation. So we chose Thursday as a movie night, taking advantage of the $5 weekday admission to see Mama Mia.

Going in, I expected an estrogen-packed chick flick. But since my Supermodel Wife was interested in this movie and not-so-interested in The Dark Knight, I suggested we check out Mama Mia because I'm a helluva guy.

I don't regret the decision. The suffering cause by sitting through this movie was more than made up for in the huge amount of chivalry points I earned.

That said, this movie was hard to sit through. I found my self physically cringing at times as the cheesiness hit Limburger levels. Within the first ten minutes, I felt I had met my Waterloo and was ready to send an SOS. But I battled through the to bitter end, because I'm a super trouper.

And it wasn't, as one might suspect, because of the music. I'm not ashamed to say I really like the music of ABBA. Maybe it's just nostalgia talking, but the music has always seemed to have an earnest pop optimism, not to mention great wall-of-sound production and musicianship that seems rare these days.

And maybe that's what made it worse. Seeing this music that I love cheesed up on the big screen (like it wasn't cheesy enough already) was just too much for me to handle. The songs (most of which we all know by heart) were a limiting factor on the story. Dialog and situations were contrived to simply to introduce the next song and not necessarily to advance the plot, resulting in leaps of logic too large even for a Broadway show.

The story and characters were pretty boilerplate. I think there was an episode of Eight is Enough or The Brady Bunch that followed the same storyline.

Anyway, I hate to bash too much. There were a few patches of silver lining, one of which was the performance of Amanda Seyfried as the lead character.

I recognized the up-and-coming actress from her work on HBO's Big Love. It struck me as interesting that in that series she portrays a character with multiple mothers, whereas in Mama Mia!, she portrays a character with multiple fathers. Anyway, she's a fresh face, quite fetching and her acting wasn't as over the top as others in the movie.

Also, I'd like to give kudos to Pierce Brosnan for attempting the singing role. Took guts. As a beer-swilling hetero male, I'm secure enough to say that the former Remington Steele makes a pretty good looking upper-middle aged man. But God bless'im, he just doesn't have a great singing voice.

The star of the movie, in my opinion, the best part (aside from the ending) was the scenery. Filmed primarily on the Greek island of Skopelos, the sweeping vistas and intimate ocean inlet settings had me planning a Greek getaway for our next vacation.

My final rating: Don't Take a Chance on it.

Favorite quote:
"Does she wear it or floss with it?"

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  1. I saw the show and the movie (although it wasn't planned). It wasn't too bad but they didn't have to get the suckiest singing actors for the movie. At least in the Broadway show they were professional singers.

  2. this is one of the few plays i've actually seen, which ended up being great... it's funny to think of ol' Pierce taking a stab at singing though, yeeesh


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