Sigh. Society has dictated that liking certain things makes a man less of a man. For example; liking the color pink, throw pillows or fruity drinks will usually get your man card revoked. I’m not sure when certain things became less manly, but men feel pressure to either not like those things, or to hide their fondness. Another example would be the Swedish 70’s band, Abba and indirectly, the musical MAMMA MIA!.
But you’ll occasionally catch me at the bar sipping on a Rum Runner or picking out new throw pillows at Macy’s. I’ve never been one to change my likes or dislikes because I want to fit a particular image. So with that in mind, I will make my declaration to the world that I love Abba. Not only Abba, but the musical and movie MAMMA MIA! It’s fun, it’s cute, it’s sweet and the musical numbers make you want to get up and dance. If admitting that makes me less of a man, well, I guess I’m okay with that.
Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried) is about to get married and dreams of having her father walk her down the aisle. Unfortunately for her, her mom was a bit of a slut wild when she was younger and she doesn’t really know who the father is. So Sophie has narrowed it down to three contestants and much to the surprise of her mother, she invites all three of them to her wedding. Of course, this comes as a shock and the rest of the film is dedicated to trying to figure out who her father is.
The entire movie is set to Abba music, much like ACROSS THE UNIVERSE was set to Beatles music. If I have to compare the two, I’d say the biggest difference is that the actors singing the songs in MAMMA MIA aren’t nearly as good of singers as the actors in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. Seyfried and Streep do okay, but Dominic Cooper and Pierce Brosnan shouldn’t even sing in the shower. Thankfully, they limit their singing, or give them songs that don’t require much range. However, for those roles, I think they would have been better served finding singers that can act and not actors that can sing. Sometimes it’s better to surround a talented cast with actual musicians in order to handle the more difficult songs, or to add a bit of legitimacy to the film, ala CHICAGO.
But regardless of who sings, the music is the selling point. Good music in a musical will at least make it okay. What makes MAMMA MIA! good is that director Phyllida Lloyd keeps everything rolling and doesn’t waste the audience’s time. She knows why we’re there and she skips to the next song quickly and smoothly. She also does a fine job with the dance numbers, which provide pleasing visuals while you’re listening to some good songs. The routines won’t blow you away, but they work for the movie.
MAMMA MIA! is a fun film that will please anyone that’s a fan of Abba. But even if you don’t have one of their albums, or won’t admit to having one, I think you’ll catch on to the songs rather quickly. The film covers just about every decent Abba song and it does it so well that you’ll probably want to watch this one a few times.