I love Meryl Streep. I love ABBA. I love musicals. I secretly love cinema visits where singing along is positively encouraged. In essence, I AM the target demographic for the Mamma Mia film. So why did I walk out of Cineworld this evening like I was suffering from shell-shock?
Suspending disbelief is not an issue for me, I can happily accept people bursting into song left, right and centre. This was just utter tripe, like a Comic Relief sketch gone on 90 minutes too long. Darlings, I adore a bit of hamming it up as much as the next musical-loving homo, but this was like a really bad pantomime. At one point, I snarked to Kaite that the woman pouting to Money, Money, Money was the most Oscar-nominated actress of all time. Sure, after decades of frosty heartbreak, maybe Meryl’s entitled to blow off some acting steam but holy mother of crap I cringed so hard for the first hour that I now have cramp in my shoulders.
This wasn’t a good film, not even a ‘feelgood blockbuster’. This was like your watching your mum (and her drunken friends) hammer the karaoke. I hate the premise, the book is amateur crap. I may not be any kind of a real writer, but this cliché-ridden claptrap is up there with the play I wrote at nine years old, in which ‘naughty’ teenagers get drunk on Babycham.
Not entirely without merit I suppose, Christine Baranski was underused but completely nailed ‘Does Your Mother Know’. The ‘oops, how do we fit in Waterloo’ non-problem (by remembering it’s not about the actual Battle of Waterloo, duh) was solved by the faux-music video bit over the credits. Had it just been the bit at the start of the credits, I might have felt it was worth the ticket price. It might have been when you factor in Colin Firth frolicking like he was at a G-A-Y foam party, but it was really beyond redemption at that point.
Oh I know, what kind of misery guts criticises a film which is basically a fluff piece? It’s just that I like talented people doing stupid things for a laugh – for example the splendiferous Judi Dench doing a spoof of “I Am Sixteen, Going On Seventeen”. This was just a waste. Meryl almost pulled it out of the mire by attacking “The Winner Takes It All” like the pro that she is. It wasn’t enough though, and anything that makes me question Pierce Brosnan’s sheer awesomeness is best left alone.