Saturday, August 02, 2008
Movie Reviews: MAMMA MIA
Donna (Meryl Streep), an independent hotelier in the Greek islands, is preparing for her daughter's wedding with the help of two old friends. Meanwhile Sophie, Donna's spirited daughter, has a plan of her own. She secretly invites to the wedding three men from her mother's past in hopes of meeting her real father and having him escort her down the aisle on her big day.
Cast: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Julie Walters
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Opened July 18, 2008
Runtime: 1 hr. 48 min.
PG-13 for some sex-related comments
Genres: Musical Comedy, Musical Romance, Musical
Mamma Mia is escapist entertainment that never really reaches the transcendent joy of some recent musicals like Hairspray. Awkwardly directed by Phyllida Lloyd, she is also the shows Broadway director, Mamma Mia suffers from nearly insufferable non musical portions. When the actors aren't contorting around, Meryl Streep wins the prize here, while singing they recited some truly trite and generic dialogue that's neither sincere nor interesting. Still the main attraction here are the ABBA musical numbers and some of them are well done while others just seem to miss the mark partially due to sloppy directing. The actors do they best during the intermittent moments of none lyrical situations. Meryl Streep does a decent job as Donna even if her performance leans more towards caricature. She has a surprisingly good voice and she really belts out a few numbers, Slipping through My Fingers was a real high point for me. Amanda Seyfried is adequately endearing as Sophie yet her character never feels fully realized in a dramatic sense. Pierce Brosnan deserves special notice for one of the worst cases of miscasting; it should be a requirement that you be able to sing, even just a little bit, if you're cast in a musical. The rest of the cast has a great time just letting loose and embracing the nuttiness of the film even if that zeal doesn't reach the audience as intended. The film does seem to pick up a bit of steam as it reaches heads towards its finale, building some momentum from some of the better musical numbers but it never really feels more than a failed exercise in attempting to bring the stage version to the screen. The musical numbers are above average but as a film it's just feels flimsy and uninteresting.